I’ve been noticing a crazy idea floating around in my head and heart. It’s one of those ideas that’s gone on undetected and unchallenged, like background noise that’s so familiar you don’t notice it until someone points it out to you.
It goes something like this:
The better you are, the less you need others.
- Once you’ve earned your diploma, you stop going to classes.
- The stronger you are, the fewer people you need to lift something heavy.
- If you know how to speak the language, you don’t need an interpreter.
- If you make enough money, you can buy your own instead of borrowing someone else’s.
It’s an attractive idea. Grow, improve, strengthen, accumulate, and you won’t have to navigate all the pains and challenges that needing others brings. After all, when you need others, you’re vulnerable to disappointment, rejection, and failures that you don’t have to worry about when you can handle it alone.
But it’s a trap.
Follow its reasoning to its end and it means the goal of life is to become more and more alone. It means the best, brightest, and godliest among us are on a trajectory to isolation.
But maybe the end isn’t isolation, maybe it’s celebrity—that state where others adore you in your glory while you help, inspire, entertain, or heal them.
But isn’t this just a different kind of isolation? I’d wager that many celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and pastors whose lives we’ve seen crumbling have been drinking deep of this kind of isolation.
You cannot be loved without being known. You cannot be known unless you risk vulnerability. And you cannot be truly vulnerable unless it’s true you need others.
I’m coming back to the truth that I do.
So I’m pursuing a different kind of “better.” I hope you’ll join me. It goes like this:
Better living isn’t when others become obsolete. Better living is life with others.
Question: What’s one thing you can do today to embrace this revised idea of “better”? Do it. You’ll make someone else’s life better in the process. Leave a comment below.