Pardon me for being pretty direct but, the fact is, you talk tough in your imagination but 99% of you behave like you’re sheople. Almost all of you are terrified of doing something unacceptable. You’ve been so successfully convinced that you are unlovable that you choose to be timid everywhere you go. (Except maybe in your car, where its steel and glass enclosure allows you to exercise your tough imagination a little more vocally or with your middle finger.)
Other than little gasps here and there too many of you live in dread fear all day long. I’ll give you an example.. You see this sort of thing all the time: Remember, I live in a place where winters are pretty cold. I was in a coffee shop on the day I wrote this. There was a line-up right to the door. Usually the line curls around the inside of the shop, but every now and then it will be like today, where people have inadvertently lined up toward the door, which eventually leaves the people coming in with no where to go. This, despite the fact that half the restaurant is available for the line.
Today the answer was extremely easy and obvious to everyone there: the line-up should shuffle over to the available aisle rather than leave an increasing number of people out in the bitter cold. Two separate pairs in the line-up even openly stated what should happen, but no one took any action. And yet it was obvious that no one was comfortable with the fact that their inaction was leaving people outside, where it was cold. Finally I was done my observing and I simply stated, “Let’s we all shuffle over here, then those people can get in where it’s warm.” Everyone instantly and enthusiastically agreed. They just needed someone to go first.
The reason I spoke up is because I could care less what anyone thinks of me. Those are thoughts. I care about the experiences people are having and I saw people unnecessarily suffering due to the inaction of others and so I acted. But I am not a nicer person than the rest of the people in that line-up. I’m not more capable of love. Everyone there clearly had a sympathetic reaction to the people outside. So it’s not what I can do that makes me different. It’s what I don’t do.
Everyone there had the same impulse. To act. To do something simple, and decent and human. And yet the pull of their very nature failed to outweigh their ego-voice, which suggested that maybe someone else should do it, or that it was fine the way it was, or whatever justification they told themselves to explain away what their nature was urging them to do. This is the only reason there are bullies in the world. Because most people actually empathize with the victim, and yet they’ll act on behalf of the bully just to avoid possibly being socially rejected, even if that rejection is from thugs. The worst part about that isn’t the bully. It’s you who’s giving up your free will!
You can never be free if you let others dictate your actions. You should not be lawful just because something’s legal. You should be lawful because your inner self has no desire to take what is not yours, nor does it have any desire to hurt or damage people, places or things in any way. The laws should just coincide with your own sense of community and respect. And most importantly, your sense of community must be founded in a strong sense of love.
There are countless times each day when you could brighten another life. Doing so also brightens yours. So stop thinking you can’t say hello to people in the elevator at work. Stop thinking you can’t just go knock on your neighbour’s door and introduce yourself. And for that matter, stop thinking you can’t tell the manager that he shouldn’t touch you like that. You’re you. Trust your feelings.
You don’t need to be timid to belong. You belong by nature. And nature wants you to boldly be you. So the next time you see something silly like I did today, be the micro-hero and just fix it with a few kind and generous words. It really does feel good, and you’ll help to show others how they can act more authentically too.
So today, don’t enjoy your day by chance. Enjoy it by design. Go make friends. Because it always has been you that creates those. 😉
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.