We're Connected - Ubuntu

We're Connected - Ubuntu

We must focus on what bring us together.

Last week I wrote about Making Empathy Great Again to start a conversation about how we all could be a bit more understanding and compassionate to those we come in contact with. This week I think it would be good for us to consider the ways in which we are different, yet all connected.

A word I was introduced to a few years back is Ubuntu it comes from the South African language known as Zulu and has been introduced to many by Bishop Desmond Tutu. The meaning of Ubuntu is often translated as the universal bond which connects all of humanity to one another, at its most basic definition it means “I am because we are”, the notion that we are universally connected and that we what connects us is much greater than what divides us.

I think about all of the things that I have found in common with others that have created friendships and realize the many things that we don’t have in common as well. I have plenty of friends that I don’t agree with on many topics but we have always been able to find commonality in some form and when we have conversations about those things that divide us we have been able to respectfully listen and disagree, which is becoming a foreign concept, so allow me to give us all permission to have friendships with those who don’t agree with us and also see the humanity in those who are different from us.

Now, back Ubuntu and what it means for us in a social climate that suggests we are not connected. We are connected through friendships, hobbies, book groups, causes that we care about, and our moral compasses that suggest we do good and treat others with respect. One place that I have found a common ground and place that reminds me how I am connected to all is the communion table in my church it reminds me that which unites us is much greater than that which divides us!

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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I Never Knew What True Friendship Was Before You Came Along

To my best friend, thank you for everything.

To my best friend,

Throughout these past few years, you have done so much for me. Probably more than you realize.

Our talks are my favorite thing in the world. Lord help the people who hear the middle of whatever we are talking about, though. We could talk for ages about nothing and everything at the same time.

Before you, I never had a friend I could really talk to like that. It's crazy how one person can have such a big impact on my life.

I never knew what true friendship was until you came into my life. I guess what I'm trying to say is...

Thank you.

Thank you for being there when my dad made me cry. Which was often. You even came to "rescue" me a couple of times.

Thank you for allowing me to grieve properly when my cousin passed away. You talked with me through it and made the tears stop for the first time.

Thank you for being my human journal. Whenever I need to cry, vent, yell, I know that I can go to you, and I am beyond grateful for that.

Thank you for always finding a way to make me laugh. I swear I never laugh as much as I do as when I'm with you.

Thank you for always being a phone call or text away when I need you, whether it's three in the morning or three in the afternoon.

Thank you for always telling me the truth, even if it might hurt.

Most of all, thank you for being yourself. You are the kindest, most loving person I have ever met. You have the most beautiful soul and the biggest heart.

I truly believe you have made me a better person. I also believe I would no longer be here if it wasn't for you.

I love you and I can't wait to see where the future takes us!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Examine What You Tolerate

You deserve better!

More often than not, we accept less than we deserve. Whether it be friends, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or our everyday acquaintances, it is easy to let people overstep your boundaries.

The reality is, what we allow is what will continue. If someone leaves you with unsettling feelings or makes you feel like you have to prove your worth, the relationship should not be where our energy is placed. So why do we allow this?

In my thrive group (bible study through the Cru organization on my campus), we read an article on relationships. The article provided reasons in which we feel the need to hold on to others. We tend to go from relationship to relationship and tolerate stupidity to fulfill our “spiritual thirst.” Here are some of the underlying “thirsts” that the article suggests we are trying to quench through relationships:

"Approval and appreciation. “My life feels more meaningful when I get the praise and compliments of others” or “I like being in a relationship because it makes me feel wanted.”

Influence and Power. “I feel more powerful when I am dating someone important or when I’m accepted into an elite group on campus.”

Emotional and physical comfort. “Being in a relationship with someone makes me feel less lonely or bored” or “I like the intimacy we have when we talk on the phone every night or when we engage in sexual activity.”

Security and control. “I feel more secure about myself and my future when I’m in a committed relationship” or “I like to date people I can control because I like being the one in charge.”

I would argue that the central reason for our tolerating of other's bulls**t is because we lack the understanding of our worth. In order for us to create relationships in which we don't feel taken for granted, cheated, or judged, we must love ourselves enough to set boundaries. "Your time and your energy are precious. It is us who chooses how we use it. We teach others how to treat us by deciding what we will and will not accept" (Anna Taylor).

It is not selfish to love yourself. It is necessary to make your own happiness a priority. Sometimes, this is more difficult than it sounds. Letting go of toxic people may be scary because you have to sacrifice your security blanket. However, it is essential we understand that we deserve nothing more than the love that we give freely to those we love in return.

At some point, we have to stop asking why people treat us the way they do and start asking why we allow it. I know that personally, once I begin to proactively examine how the people around me treat me and make me feel, I can see a stark contrast in the functions of each of my relationships.

It is hard to cut people out of your life, though this doesn't mean we need to be unkind. We should still give, but not allow ourselves to be used. We should still trust, but not be naive and let lies be swept under the rug. We should still listen and care but must acknowledge that our voices too are important.

All I'm trying to say is, just because you love someone's presence in your life, does not mean they are healthy for you. We can't let others stunt our confidence and keep us from knowing how valuable we are.

You deserve better than people who can not see your amazing attributes and mess with your flow! Stop letting others make you question your worth and embrace the fact that you are dope as hell.

Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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