Everyday Ubuntu: 3 lessons we can all learn about how to see ourselves in other people
Ubuntu is an ancient Southern African philosophy about how to live life well, together . It is a belief in a universal human bond, which says: I am only because you are. And it means that if you can see everyone as fully human, connected to you by their humanity, you will never be able to treat others as disposable or without worth.
By embracing the philosophy of ubuntu it's possible to overcome division and be stronger together in a world where the wise build bridges and the foolish build walls.
Everyday Ubuntu explores 14 beautifully illustrated lessons which are essential to help us all live better, together.
The rise of social media has played a major role in stoking our fires of discontent. Whenever we scroll throughFacebook or Instagram, we are looking at carefully curated windows into people’s lives. Images are often edited and reshot to look as appealing as possible. Smiling happy families in immaculate rooms, celebrations, a new job announcement, a new kitchen, a new relationship.
However wonderful it is to celebrate the good things in our friends’ lives, many of us also follow hundreds –sometimes thousands – of strangers who appear to live lives that are richer, more fun and shinier than our own.These are people who we don’t know personally but who influence what we long to buy, the way we feel and our aspirations. The subtext is that an ‘influencer’ is a betterperson than the ordinary person.
Ubuntu teaches us the opposite of this and says that absolutely everyone on this earth is of equal value because our humanity is what matters the most. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should value otherpeople’s contributions to our day-to-day lives. There are some influencers who can have a positive effect on us,though. I no longer use social media and have little access to influencers, but the ones I do have access to – through podcasts – focus on providing their audiences with good content rather than monetizing. They share messages, interviews and advice on a range of topics including mental health, wellness, relationships and careers.
Think about who has made you into the person you are today.
Take a moment to consider all the people who help you in your life. Parents and friends will be on the list, but try widening the circle. Perhaps there are more people on your list than you’ve ever thought about before? All these seemingly meaningless interactions help you move more smoothly through life. These people’s actions canmake a difference to your day, just as you can make adifference to other people’s with yours.
Think about the people you help.
Write a second list. The friend who asks you for advice. The colleague you help with a task at work. The child you nurture by cooking and caring for them every day. The loved one who needs a shoulder to cry on.
Notice how life is about give and take.
Do you enjoy giving more than taking? What have you done for someone that made you feel good about yourself? And what can you do today, or tomorrow?
Everyday Ubuntu: Living Better Together, The African Way is available to buy now here.
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