“Society” is a word often used and misunderstood. “Society” is something most Americans believe to be their responsibility to preserve, change or progress. That’s because most people believe there is only one society for America, and, therefore, it must be their society that prevails.
This simple misunderstanding leads to a culture war for the heart of America. A country founded in a concept of freedom, few who live here actually even consider the freedom of others as the core of their political position. From the right or left, Americans wear this “mantle of responsibility” to fight for the world and their belief system. After all, if we didn’t, “it’d all go down the tubes.”
While we could explore a variety of political reasons for this, something much deeper on an individual level fuels this madness — the idea that society dictates peace and happiness. And further, it’s believing that things OUTSIDE of you control things INSIDE of you: happiness, peace, contentment, etc.
Instead of seeking fulfillment in society, cut out every idea that you should or could manipulate society in your favor. Instead, scale down your expectation of reach to ONLY what you actually have direct power to improve and start there.
Functionally, here are a few things you can do to start improving yourself as a citizen of your own life and society.
- Turn off the TV
- Stop participating in gossip
- Let people make their own decisions
- Take the time to think through your own
- Trust no one to be anything but what they present themselves to be
- Love everyone for who you are, not whom you want them to be
- Give of yourself, knowing that giving its own reward
- Learn without ceasing
- Embrace lessons from history, even if it hurts — your own, your society, your country’s
- Let go of history as a master of your future. The sins of your culture, color, gender and faith do not dictate today
- Stop giving your kids what you didn’t have and start giving them what you did — discipline, love, direction, security and opportunities to face difficulties in order to grow and deepen
- Choose to do what you love so that you’ll love what you do and find happiness to offer in kind to all other areas of your life
I could go on with this list — I really could — but my biggest message is that happiness starts with you.
Your life is your responsibility — not how others live theirs. Even if what others do seems crazy or immoral or unwise, it’s on them for themselves. Your happiness won’t come from other people living as you think they should. If you really think your lifestyle is superior and a better way to happiness, then live as an example, which has always served people better than a competitor. Let people see your inner peace and flowing love and be drawn to you, rather than have to fight off your attempts to shove it down their throat. It will only make them want to shove their own down yours that much more.
So live for others by first taking care of yourself so you’re not a mess. So that you can “have it together” while you help others get their own. Take the only control you have (what little any of us have) and actually make the most of it — control over yourself.
There is so much more to be said for the peaceful man who loves others for where they are and not as he expects them to be, and the power he can have in changing their lives because of it! Be centered in the chaos. Be the lighthouse!