When we identify with something larger than ourselves, that becomes part of who we are. There is so much more to us than just a separate self; our connected self is based on recognizing that we are part of many larger circles. The distinction made between selfishness and altruism is misleading. It is based on a split between helping ourselves (selfishness) and helping others (altruism). When we consider the connected self, we recognize this choice as nonsense. It is from our connected selves that much of what people most value in life merges, including love, friendship, loyalty, trust, relationship, belonging, purpose, gratitude, spirituality, mutual aid, and meaning. When people lose their sense of belonging to larger circles, they lose not only the motivation to act for their communities and environment but also valuable sources of support and resilience.
Adapted from Active Hope, Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone
Let us love one another, for love comes from God.
1 John 4:7
Consider the larger circle to which you belong: family, friends, team, community. How do they impact on you? What is your effect on them. How are you stronger together? What does this imply for you?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
When the definition of self changes the meaning of self-interest and self-serving motivations changes accordingly.
The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.
The really wonderful thing that happened to me when I was in space was this feeling of belonging to the entire universe.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
It’s funny: your happiness is contingent on a bigger picture besides just yourself.