The other night at dinner with my husband something struck me and got me thinking about balance and what that means not just in my own life but in the grand scheme of things. It seems of late that society has become so consumed with “me” that we have lost sight of the fact that life is really about “we.”
What does that mean? And how do we balance “me” against “we?” First, let me share what got me thinking about all of this. At dinner, I spied a family across the room consisting of what appeared to be mother, father, grandparents and a young child of about three or four years old. The child was seated in a high chair fully attached to headphones and some kind of tablet device with a show or movie playing. The child was there with the family but not engaging or listening to or even looking at the rest of the family. Perhaps that does not seem all that peculiar in today’s society, but left me wondering about the state of society.
With the proliferation of social media, including Instagram and TikTok and Twitter, has society lost it’s balance and become more of a “me” society and less of a “we” society? Have we become more focused on ourselves to the detriment of considering others? This led me thinking even further about our need for validation and how that affects others around us.
Yes, it is important for us to have our needs, wants, desires and feelings validated. But do we seek this out without considering the needs, wants, desires and feelings of others? I am hoping not, but seeing more and more that some of us are less concerned with the “we” than we are about the “me.”
How do we find some balance between making sure our needs are met, our feelings are validated and making sure we are contributing to the physical and mental well-being of those we care about, and society at large? Life is not always about us, is it? Sometimes, we have to take into consideration the needs, wants, desires and feelings of other people. Life cannot be, nor should be, always about me.
We find balance between the important focus on “me” and the equally important focus on “we” by being cognizant not just of our feelings but in considering the feelings of others. We find balance in the important focus on “me” by being aware that what we say, what we do, how we behave does actually affect other people. It is okay to practice decorum in public. It is okay to practice good manners while out and about, be it when we are using our phones, or in a restaurant, or at the gym. We seem to have strayed from this as society becomes ever more focused on “me” thanks in large part to social media.
Yes, it is important for us to focus on the self. That does not mean we focus exclusively on ourselves. Focus on ourselves should not always mean “Me, first. ” It should mean “Me, too.” That is true not just when we consider self-care but when we are in the presence of other people. Yes, of course, our needs, wants, desires and feelings matter. But not to the exception of others.
I encourage all of us to really think about the direction in which society is moving and really think about how what we say, what we do and how we behave affects those around us. While it is important to make sure our needs, wants, desires and feelings are validated, it is equally important to make sure those of the people around us are, as well.
~ Karri Christiansen, MSW, LSW, CADC, CCTP