Remember how this used to be a mental health blog? Well, I’m going to try and work back around towards that today as I address a little bit of the first question I brought up at the end of yesterday’s post, which (more or less) asked what matters to us, what goals do we have, and how do we try and get there?
Every once in awhile I used to sit down and think about what my priorities and goals are/should be. I think many of us do this at the beginning of each year. I liked to compartmentalize my goals in sections such as social, spiritual, physical, emotional, personal, etc. I think it’s wise for each of us to do this occasionally. Maybe take a minute right now—for real—and write down a few things.
Ready? Do you have some scratch paper?
Okay. First of all, what matters to you? What social issues matter to you? What family or relationship issues matter? Environmental? Physical? Etc. Ready? Now write.
(I’m going to do it too on my own piece of paper here, don’t worry).
Was doing that easy? Sort of? I think what surprised me was how many things boiled down to an all inclusive topic, kind of like how the following discussion went in Matthew 22: 36-40:
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Did you have a similar experience? For instance, my list includes: safety (for myself and others, minority or majority), morality, women’s rights, mental health awareness and care, down with bullying (not just in schools or with kids but in our society), respect (our bodies—health/foods we eat, others, etc.), responsibility and ownership over our own actions, charity for the “one.”
Stepping back for a moment, I realized that respect and charity can encompass most of these concerns or priorities.
What about your list? Any interesting things pop up? Anything radically different from mine? Probably. That’s good. That is what makes us unique.
Sometimes I wish that the Senate and the House would do an exercise like this at the beginning of their sessions. What really matters to all of us? What matters to our country? How can we effectively address these concerns? Where does it begin? How can we fix actual problems rather than just put a bandage on symptoms?
Our society, though, as we saw last week, has very different priorities. There is the rural and urban divide. There are different genders, races, religions, etc. Can we have common concerns? I think so. I think if we each tried to boil down our lists to central concepts, we might find common threads. Then communities and lawmakers would have the task to make these ideals real, breathing, working concepts and principles in our culture.
For instance, do we encourage people to respect themselves, their bodies, each other? How do we make sure that those who don’t do this get the help they need to change? How can we help people love each other as individuals? Why is this important? Etc. etc.
I don’t have the answer to how to implement this on a large scale. But let’s break it down for a second.
A possible progression
Okay. So first we start with ourselves. The individual.
You did the exercise, right? Did you glean your important concepts or ideals from your list?
Then where do we go? Maybe the family.
Let’s get our families, have each person do the exercise, and then discuss our important concepts/ideals together. Can we narrow down the collective ideas into one or two familial concepts?
After family, we could say neighborhood. Then community or city. Then county. State. Region. Country.
I’m probably vastly oversimplifying, but I think it has some merit. Everyone of us has pain, fear, and struggles. Whether it is mental health, physical health, or fear because of your religion, race, gender, or other preference—there is something that matters to each of us. We have goals, dreams, and ideals. We have a vision of what our lives and our communities and country should be like. But how do we get there? I think we have to work together. We have to begin to care. I mean, so many people didn’t even vote in the election who had the opportunity. How do we overcome apathy? I’m not sure, but we have to do something different. If we don’t, how can we be unified?
Any ideas? Did you do the exercise? What were your results?