Me versus We

Is it possible to get to the “us”?

by April Goff Brown

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One of the big struggles I see playing out is the struggle between the “Me” and the “We”. Our society has become so individualistic that it is the “Me” and my wants, my needs, my interests, my resources that seemed to have taken center stage. Now, know there is nothing in what I am about to write that is political in nature. However, we are watching this play out in our national & local political stages in the United States.

Our economy is about personal success. How high can we climb? What title can we be given? How big a house can we own? What’s the best zip code to own in? Registering infants in the best preschools three or four years before they will need it. Getting into massive debt so we can have the best. I saw something the other day from a woman complaining about all her student debt while she maintained a $4,500 monthly mortgage and $200,000 in cars. Frankly, it is a stressful way of living, never having enough, racing to keep up and amass more. The Me values things and outer trappings of what has come to define success.

We have become a people focused on building structures and systems that benefit the few, with the mistaken belief that there won’t be enough for all so let me get and hang onto my share. The structures and systems that have been built have benefitted the many, have made lives easier in many cases, have benefitted the human aspects of life too. But what if the “me” part of the equation was adjusted a bit to be a “Me in service of the We”?  What if we began to redefine measures of success?

As I continue to delve into the study of Human Design, these questions arise front and center. How do we balance the real individual need of recognition, worthiness, belonging, enoughness, with the tribal need for sustainability, resources, laws, order, and structure? How do we balance our individual survival and well-being with the needs and survival of others? How can we act on our “mama bear protecting her cubs” energy while understanding the other mama protecting hers? Are they mutually exclusive or can they both be addressed concurrently?

So, let me offer some thoughts here. (It is my blog after all!!) 

Caring for yourself, attending to your physical and emotional needs is important. I firmly believe that if we are not good for ourselves, we cannot be good for anyone else. We need to know who we are, understand our values and beliefs, feel valued and cared for, and live in alignment with our blueprint given to us at birth. Human Design, to me, is the essence of ourselves as humans, each one of us as unique as the blueprint is. But even in that uniqueness, we all desire to be cared for, to be nurtured, to be valued, to be loved, to be worthy. It is when we truly can feel the safety of these conditions, that we can turn ourselves outward in a healthy and constructive way. It’s a separating of the needs from the wants, the essential from all the other stuff.

Sometimes, we may be so outwardly directed that we forget about ourselves. People like that are viewed as selfless, committed, caring, and they are. But, some may also be enmeshed, settling for less than they deserve, giving to others at the expense of their worth and value, people-pleasing. They become taken advantage of, believing their worth is only measured by what they give, or what is taken by the other. This is unbalance and unhealthy. It harms our well-being.

A thought, then, is how to live aligned to our best selves and consider how to allow or assist others to live their best self? These can co-exist, if we remove the selfish ego from the equation and seek, instead, a balance between the Me and We. Learning to embrace new thought, different values and ideas, and seeking ways to integrate them into our own thoughts, values and ideals.  If they can’t be integrated, then learning to live harmoniously respecting each other’s values and value, and allowing enough for all.  Instead of entrenching ourselves and our systems into extreme positions and forcing these beliefs on others through laws and structures, why not find ways to peacefully live in respect, in collaborative approaches to partnerships and agreements.  We can be different and still be together.

I admit, this sometimes is a struggle for me, especially when the changes come from family or long-time relationships. I try to focus on the things that we have in common as a starting point and try to accept that we have differing ways of approaching life challenges. I ask the other person to also look for what there is in common. Sometimes it works. Other times the separation is too great, especially when their values and beliefs directly harm others. That’s when I reach for the Serenity Prayer and commit to work on my Self, working on how I can give to the other, for the highest good of the world, in my own small way. But when we can come together, we have a chance of working for the We.

You see, we can focus on the “me” in service to the “we”. That is a kind, loving expression of the best of humanity that does require perspective-taking, compromise, discussion, collaboration, and accepting that there is indeed enough for us all. 

It means valuing generosity and caring for our fellow humanity. 

It never has to be a “Me” versus “We” at all. 

It needs to shift to be about “Us”.  

Looking for assistance to live to your most aligned self? We can have a complimentary chat on what your needs are and how I can help. Click here to book a call.