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Losing Humanness

The last several days and months have been testing our patience as human beings, particularly in light of recent US government decisions. If the purpose of being human is to maintain humanity (the collective care for the human species, in consideration of all humans), it can be difficult to understand and process why things like civil rights, human rights and personal rights are still subject to idealized control. There seemed to be hope for collective survival through a global pandemic, yet what have we still not learned when we’ve readily reverted to a climate where decisions are being made for, not with, the people impacted? Compassion and empathy seem non-present. This prompts the question: where exactly is our humanity?

One of the most important aspects about being human is supporting others. We are a community-oriented population, reliant upon all our varied strengths and talents to ensure our survival. We cannot singularly be everything, know everything and do everything. It’s impossible. We need our tribe, our community, the broader sense for humanity, to support us through the many avenues of life. When any one group of people are isolated from that community and stripped of their value and worth to be seen and heard for who they are, the essence of humanity is broken. We, as a human race, are broken.

With charged political decisions, waging wars, continually perverted food sources, environmental deterioration and blatant exclusion seeming to spread rampantly across the world, it can feel like life has ceased to make sense. Humans share over-arching values for self-preservation, yet when it stops feeling that way, strong sentiments arise, including sadness, disenchantment, hopelessness, disappointment, frustration, angst or anger. We need such visceral emotional responses to know when our core sense of Being is challenged. These are red flags indicating our own values are in conflict, which can leave us wondering - ‘I want to scream from the top of my lungs – WHAT’S GOING ON?!!??’ (Credit: 1993, 4 Non Blondes, ‘What Up’)

Is this existential crisis? More likely, it’s about wanting control over situations in which we have none. The myth of control is that we desire to feel certainty and security amidst chaos, but in truth, we can only control ourselves – no one and nothing else. Through understanding this, it allows us to change how we relate to what’s happening in the world. We learn that we may control our own sense for peace and surety by actively choosing how we react, respond and move forward, solely owning the outcome for ourselves. We may elect to internalize, process and hold onto anger or resentment, or we may choose to stand in our power and use that energy to create space for a larger voice for ourselves and our community.

When decisions are being made for us, instead of with us, we have the choice to relinquish our power or claim it back. For some, this is not possible, given social, financial or physical limitations. And so, it becomes imperative that those with a voice speak loud enough for all. We ignite this power in how we decide to react and respond to the things happening around us. When we can come from a place of peace, understanding and self-control, we may meet the larger needs of our communities with inquisition of ‘what is important for the greater good of humanity?’ This puts us in a place to support others and welcome back isolated groups with care and positive intention.

While injustices occur and humanity subsequently crumbles, we cannot stand by idly, quietly. We must advocate for equality, empathy, liberty, compassion and the essential right to personal choice. It is our responsibility as humans to support our greater community of humankind. We may support local programs which benefit the greater population. Or take action when and where we are able. We need to talk about how we’re feeling and listen to others as they share their struggles. And if we are the under spoken and disempowered, we need to find the people who can help us. This is how we can return humanness to humanity, by standing together, united in strength to ensure all humans feel welcome, respected, valued and significant.

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