I feel like this is an odd topic to write on and my own thoughts aren’t fully fledged out on this issue either but I feel like writing this would help me form my own opinions as well as get my message out to the rest of the world.
I feel like this is a word that has become a major characteristic that has in essence defined our generation and maybe a few of the later ones. We live in a world that is dominated by social media. In my view, it is what has probably influenced almost every aspect of our lives. From the clothes we wear to what we eat to our opinions of major issues such as racism, cultural appropriation and religion. I think a lot of what we think now has their basis in something we might have seen or heard about from the internet.
We are always on our devices too. That’s something that probably wont change anytime soon. We’ve got our entertainment, our social life, even our food being delivered through apps now. We have convenience, efficiency and we are becoming increasingly self-reliant and in some ways isolated. I mean come on, to get food, you’d have to walk to a restaurant, usually with family or friends but now I can literally pick options off a screen and get delivered to my door. This is amazing I do agree. The ease, the speed, the technology. Astounding but I feel like we’re beginning to sacrifice a good deal of other amazing things.
This isn’t a post intended to bash social media. I have my thoughts on that topic too as I’m sure everyone else does. This is about something I bit more nuanced I’d say.
It’s hard to explain. This self-reliance. This, um, selfishness in a way. I don’t like to believe people are selfish. I don’t honestly believe that. I think this can be best illustrated with a pinterest quote that sparked my interest. It was “Be Selfish. Have Self Love. Self Worth and Self Respect. Now I am a fan of all three of the latter but it’s the first that I have a problem with. Why “be selfish”? Why has that become a battlecry for the independence we all should see to have? I don’t believe that in order to be independent, we have to be selfish. I don’t think there’s a place for selfishness in self growth at all. And yes, people will argue that, in this context, “selfishness” means putting your needs above others? We all tend to our own needs. We have to. Its key to our survival. But should we always be putting our needs above others? How many mothers do that for their children? I’ve seen time and time again, my mother sacrificing for me. My father toils day and night for us and what does that make them? Does that mean they don’t have self worth, self love and self respect? I think that they have all of that plus my love, my respect and they’re the world to me. All of you will probably agree to this too. It’s their self sacrificing quality that makes them great isn’t it?
Let’s move away from this personal example to one a bit more worldly. Soldiers fighting a war. War is terrible, unreasonable and never ever justified in the end. But how many soliders fight for a noble cause? To protect their country? Their loved ones? We honour them. We remember them. Why? Because they went and did their own thing? No. We honour them and love them because they fought to protect the rights and lives of people they didn’t even know. People they have never seen. People like me. I am who I am today because of those people. For their sacrifice. And will you say they were not independent? Those dashing man, running off into the night, to save us?
Fiction. Harry Potter. King Arthur. The Illiad. The Scarlet Pimpernel. To Kill a Mockingbird. I could go on and on. But which of these great works did not have an element of self-sacrifice in them? Snape. The Knights of the Round Table. Hector. Sir Percy. Atticus. All these heroes that we idolize have something in common. They cared. They sacrificed. They were true to a higher cause. This is what makes them great.
I’m not saying that we rush off and begin a self-sacrificing quest. We don’t have to be noble heroes. But what I do want to say is we should stop feeding into this bs that is propelling us to chase our own dreams and in a way, being ruthless in getting what you want. You do not need to be ruthless in order to be great. You do need to be any less human.
This has been a bit of a ramble to get my point across. I don’t know if I’ve had any luck explaining what I had to say. I’d like to think that instead of Independence being our battle cry, it should be Interdependence. We are human. We rely on each other. We should be able to rely on each other.
We need to create a world where all of us can support each other. Be a shoulder rather than those legs than run off at the first sign of trouble (Bad metaphor I know) and then use I’ve got to put myself first as an excuse. We are strong enough to withstand anything. Together. And we should be creating a world that understands that. *insert Disney princess song*
Thanks for listening to my ted talk. That’s from Emma Chamberlain. I’m not funny enough to come up with that one by myself lol.
Written by Tahseen