© 2019 by Nicole Steward, MSW 

Recognizing our Shared Humanity

June 12, 2017

"If we have no peace,

it is because we have forgotten

that we belong to each other."

- Mother Teresa

 

Our human nature craves connection and meaning.  We spend our lives building relationships, weaving connections and situations into meaning so we can have a sense of who we are in relation to others.  This is why we are raised in groups, i.e. families & communities.

 

Being human simply must include connections and relationships.  Relationships set our foundation and help us get our bearings in the world.  In fact, attachment (specifically to our caregivers, but also to others) is one key to our survival as a species. This is why early disruption or lack of connection in childhood has such long-lasting and far-reaching effects.

 

Attachment and authenticity are two keys to our survival, according to Dr. Gabor Mate, but our need for attachment is so strong that we may sacrifice our authentic voice in order to attach to a dysregulated caregiver. This is why the traumas with the most long-lasting negative effects are the ones inflicted on us by those who are supposed to protect us and upon whom we must depend; parents, siblings, family & friends.

 

That's not to say that traumas inflicted on us by strangers or nature aren't just as damaging, but those interactions keep a buffer between our singular identity.  We can understand that kind of trauma more than we can traumas that occur at the hands of those tasked with our care & safety.

 

This is also why violations of our collective safety by police, like the murder of Philando Castile (and Mike Brown, and Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray, and Sandra Bland, and...and...and....) are so traumatic to many of us.  Watching a trauma inflicted on a member of our community by someone tasked with the care & safety of our community is too much to bear.  

 

We are being traumatized.

 

Because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

 

How we behave with each other matters.  How we treat each other is important to our collective growth as a species but also to our individual growth as humans who crave connection.  

 

I don't have a big answer to our collective pain.  All I know is that each of us has to turn our hearts toward love.  We must shift how we see each other, the 'other'.  

 

We must remember that we belong to each other. And act like it.

 

In solidarity,

*ns

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