Reconciliation is a lot about understanding. Firstly, understanding yourself. Perhaps a good way to think about it and then apply it to yourself is to consider cultural values.
I think most cultures had common “rules” or “ways of behaving” or “values (things that are considered very important)” to ensure that their village survived.
SO.. what must I do to help everybody else eat? Be protected from attack either human or animal? find shelter? look after the ageing, young and sick? teach the skills required to live in the environment you were in? health? Who you could marry? and so on. Unless everyone worked together everyone would or could die. Everyone depended on everyone else to live.
These things were cultural values, often found in religious practices or in ceremonies. They were the values that everyone needed to display – and if you didn’t you could be kicked out of that society.
Today it is so different …
we probably don’t need everyone abiding by the same set of rules to not die. So the values have been redefined by each person.
Things change .. I remember as a kid at Governor Stirling Senior High School, that there were families from all over Europe where the values of extended families were extremely strong. The obligations (values) of the children to support their family were immense. I remember the kids explaining to their parents that “they were in Australia now and that’s not what Australians did” and the parents complained.
When I ask you what are your values, are they about common good or are they just about what you can get out of life? It really is just the progression that we’ve seen over a long period of time where we can make choices because “common good” is not required to just stay alive.
There have been some big shifts. Remember affluence? That was spoken about 15 years ago. People had been lulled into thinking that they would be happy if they owned lots of things. But they found that owning stuff does not bring happiness!
I think we’re in a huge dilemma where the providers of products want us to believe that we need to be like a certain type of person, we need to have a social media profile, we need to wear certain clothes, be seen at certain places, hold certain views to be happy …
and to me, it is just a big lie!
I once heard it explained that when you were young and immature the velcro of life was on the outside and you stuck on it little signs. The car I drive, the clothes I wear, the social media image I have. But when you mature and grow up the velcro is on the inside. What do I believe, what contribution do I make to my community, how do I help others…
It seems as though we no longer grow up in our society. We stay trapped with the signs of success stuck on the outside, we stay stuck in emotional childhood. We are trapped in never being satisfied, never really feeling as though we are worthwhile.
And this is how we start the journey of being reconciled with ourselves. By understanding that the current pressure of the world to adopt the values that are about extrinsic motivation – what others see you as through your wealth and fame – are the world’s biggest con. They will not bring you what you seek in the long term!
The things that occur through intrinsic motivation, the values that you hold about contribution, the common good, serving others are a better bet.
Try and understand what your behaviour, what your words say about your value and then the journey of reconciliation with yourself has begun.
Read more from Allan Tranter on Reconciliation: How do we reconcile with ourselves?