If you could help humanity in just one area, what would that be? What is the world’s deepest need? Thought provoking question, isn’t it?
I recently posted an inquiry on my social media sites, seeking to narrow down that question to an easy answer. In response, I received five pages of answers that just seemed to complicate things for me.
The question I posed to my followers was, “Practically speaking, what do you think are the greatest needs/desires of our society? Really…I’m talking personal needs, not political opinions.”
Being a therapist for 28 years, you’d think I’d have a clear grasp on this. As it turns out, I received about 65 replies, all varied in some way. The most mentioned need/desire included the word “Love” in some capacity…giving it, receiving it. Along with that came words that I might be tempted to include in that category such as compassion, empathy, inner peace, truth, connection, understanding, validation and belonging. Civility and respect could also fit in this category.
On the other hand, many also chose physical needs to put at the top of their list: clean water, food, housing, medical care.
Still, despite my plea for no political comments, some just couldn’t resist. Those tended to focus on how our society is greedy and money hungry. A few focused on what’s wrong with our political system and how we should fix it. While these things may be true, it became clear that blaming, resentment and not focusing on the underlying need doesn’t get us any closer to an answer. When there is injury and chaos, it is often driven by fear and reactivity, which creates more injury and chaos rather than solid solutions.
So, upon further study of the answers and meditation about the nuances, diversity and variety in different facets of interpretation, it occurred to me that while food and water are vital to survival, it is Love that actually prompts people to help supply those things to others. Love and compassion, creativity and wisdom, empathy and respect which all point to our oneness as human beings and the interconnectedness that we share.
Struggling with the questions of “What does this mean?” and “How does it apply to me?” and “What should I be doing?” brought me back to the basic principles that I teach to clients and audiences everywhere, in every culture. They start with the realization that each of us is a leader, whether or not we are in an official leadership position or not. The world is longing for strong, ethical leaders with deep understanding of self and others with a steadfast connection to That which is bigger than ourselves. Knowing that we are each created unique for a purpose, with a variety of looks, races, nationalities, interests and giftings, we must listen to that still small voice of authenticity and uniqueness inside ourselves and follow the desire that is put in our heart.
It might be teaching piano lessons; it might be a desire to enter the political arena; it may present itself as an opportunity to teach or travel or hike or write or run a little boutique in your neighborhood. The calling you hear may be to enter into religious service or become an anthropologist, or stay home and raise children.
Our calling to leadership and fulfillment is as individual as our facial expressions and sometimes as private as our thoughts; but it is there. It is a call that must be followed from a place of love and compassion, respect and non-judgment, not allowing ourselves to be swayed by the opinions of others or trends in society, or the loudest voices that demand compliance or rejection. It comes from that place of strength of character and individual uniqueness within each of us.
There are many needs on our planet and none of us has the complete answer or knows the perfect response. But we each have a piece of it and must take responsibility for our own personal call for fulfillment, and in following that call, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place, making the answer clear. We are in this together.
Marianne Clyde is an expert in Mental Health in the workplace. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in practice for 28 years. Marianne has written and published numerous articles, appeared on radio and television worldwide, commenting on topics ranging from gun violence to having a happy marriage. She is the author of three best-selling books, Peaceful Parenting: 10 Essential Principles and Un-Leashed: Practical Steps to Get Your Life Unstuck, and most recently, Zentivity™: How to Eliminate Chaos, Stress and Discontent in Your Workplace. Marianne founded the Marianne Clyde Center for Holistic Psychotherapy, and Be the Change Foundation, empowering and equipping women to build successful home-based businesses.