Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Minimalizing Oneself

Each us us faces many challenges in life. But are you aware that we can make things even more difficult than is necessary by minimalizing ourselves?

OK, so you are probably wondering what on Earth I'm talking about.

I'm talking about all those people who see themselves in a very limited manner. You know who they are. They are the people who see themselves primarily as blacks, only as Jews, only as Indians, only as Irish, only as liberals, only as....and the list goes on. They live their entire lives confined by the boudaries they set for themselves, and in so doing, they not only minimalize themselves, but they deprive us all of what they COULD be.

Still scratching your noggin?

On the street is Joe Blow. That is who he is. But he is also a member of the Blow family. And the Blow family is probably a member of a religion, and that religion is part of a community, which is part of a state, which in turn is part of a nation, a race, and ultimately, the race of Mankind. So, Joe Blow is a very important person. Or, he could be.

But Joe may very well limit himself by only thinking of himself as a person belonging to a specific level. Perhaps, as a person of Polish descent, he sees himself primarily as a Pole. As such, he takes offense at Polish jokes, is prejudiced against Russians, etc. Or, perhaps he is Native American, and limits himself to being part of the race that was beaten by the palefaces. And he lives with the angers, prejudices and guilts associated with being Native American.

Or perhaps Joe only sees himself as a smaller member of the human race - a member of his family. And his entire life revolves in that small world, where only family is important.

And then again, maybe Joe cannot see beyond himself - nothing else is as important. So his realm is very tiny, indeed.

The people who violently objected to the Columbus Day parade in Denver were people who have risen only to the level of their race. They limit themselves, and we all pay for that, because we lose all that those people could have been. If those people were to simply acknowledge their race, but were also to accept their rightful place in the larger picture known as the Human Race, they - and we - would be better off. There is great power in numbers. If you are strong because you belong to a community, you would be stronger if you belong to something larger, such as a religion or a race. But you would be stronger still if you belong to a nation, and strongest of all as a participating member of Mankind. The higher the level you rise to, the stronger you become. So why would anyone choose to minimalize themselves to a mere race, religion or even individual? You do not give up being an individual when you join a community. As you rise to higher levels, you become more, not less - you are an individual, a son, a father, a church member, a citizen of the community, etc. You become them all - until you stop yourself from going higher.

Those people in Denver are stuck at the "race" level. They have not matured. They minimalize themselves. They could be so much more if only they would stop living as though their race is more important than anything else. Certainly, your heritage is important. But it is only a small part of who you are.

And the sooner people figure that out, the better off we all will be. Once we all rise to the top level, and accept ourselves as equal members of the race of Man, only then will there no longer be racial issues, wars, and other pesky problems we currently must endure.

We must grow. We must outgrow our angers, hatreds, prejudices and selfishness. It is fine to be able to say, "I am a Christian", or "I am black." But it is not fine if you limit yourself to being just that. It is time to say, "I am Man", and not be limited to any other self-imposed labels.

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