There are many recurrent themes that I have seen in the lives of people over the years. And I suppose that one of the saddest is that most of us settle. Most of us lean toward mediocrity and tend toward comfort. Sadly, in many cases we want to "influence" the world around us in some form or fashion, but we don't want to pay the price to "transform" the world around us. And when that happens, mediocrity and comfort end up shaping passive agendas.
We are better than this. We are better that what we've become and what we've settled for. We are better than the people we've allowed ourselves to be. We are better than the values for which we've settled, and we are better than the popular but not necessarily prudent agendas which we've embraced. In fact, in my experience I have found that more often than not, we are far, far better than any of that. This month's article challenges us be better than what we've chosen to be.
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Sincerely, Craig D, Lounsbrough, M.Div. Licensed Professional Counselor Certified Professional Life Coach
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We Are Better Than This: Missing the Essence of
Rarely do we rise to the pinnacle of our capabilities. However, all too often we readily descend to the dismal pit of our inabilities. We're remarkably human, but we're terribly primal at the same time. We have the ability to access an intellect that has no equal in all of creation, yet we defer to something more animalistic that's all too common in all of creation. And that primal, animalistic side of us is more often than not the "primary" side of us. And that's primarily a problem because "we are better than this."
It seems that we're relatively slow to think and dreadfully quick to react. We're sluggish to methodically strategize our actions, while we're reflexively quick to strike out in some sort of impulsive reaction. Rather than draw upon the expanse of our intellect and the depth of our wisdom, particularly in the difficult times, we too often grab the closest thing to us and start swinging.
Too often we're not prudent and we're anything but judicious. We've too easily abandoned our intellectual capabilities and we react in less than thoughtful ways. And when we do that long enough, we tend to forget that we have the ability to be and to act in ways that are far above what we're being, and far more judicious than how we're acting. We're slowly led to believe that we're a bit more primal than anything else, and that a keen discernment and a prudent approach is either "beyond us," or that it "takes too much work" to get there when in reality "we are better than this."
Is It Beyond Us?
Too often we use the whole mentality that something's beyond us as an excuse to avoid using what's actually within us. We don't want to be all that accountable, or we're not really all that interested in stepping up, or we don't want to extend ourselves, or a million other excuses for the inexcusable attitudes of mediocrity and apathy. "We could never do that," we incessantly tell ourselves as a means of lulling ourselves into some sort of stale complacency. And in doing so, we penalize our spirits, forfeit our abilities, and levy a heavy fine on our capabilities. "We are better than this."
Is It Too Much Work?
The fact that acting with wisdom, prudence and discretion takes some time and requires a bit of energy is quite often something less than appealing. To act wisely and thoughtfully means that we purposefully rally our intellectual resources, apply those resources in order to carefully ascertain the situation, make judicious decisions based on our observations, and then engage the situation with wisdom, balance and discernment. That all takes time and energy, and often it takes a lot of it. Too often we're not really all that interested in expending that kind of time and energy because we'd much prefer to speedily dispense with whatever we're facing, or all we're really interested in is driving an agenda and nothing more, and in reality we probably want to get on to something that's much more fun and much less demanding. So we do what we have to do to simply get it done in order to just get it done. "We are better than this."
Sadly, these behaviors aren't exclusive to us. In fact, they seem to be becoming a whole lot more prevalent in our culture these days. We watch individuals at all levels in all kinds of roles and in an endless variety of occupations doing the very same thing. Frequently we have an expectation that individuals in certain roles should obviously be acting wisely, thoughtfully and with an astute judiciousness. To us, it's clear that people in certain positions of authority or in critical situations should be acting with a keen degree of prudence and reacting with an unbiased discretion. Yet, often they don't. And so we see this malaise and indifference populating the actions and behaviors of people everywhere. In time, we devolve into the assumption that it's just the way it is. And over time, we tragically lose the understanding that "we are better than this."
"We are better than this." We are better than how we behave. We are better than the ways in which we act. We are better than what our decisions would suggest and what our actions would portray. We are better than the image that we have projected into the world around us, and the reflection of ourselves that we see within us. "We are better than this!"
I would rather pointedly suggest that it's time to reclaim the fact that "we are better than this." It's time to step up and refuse to be less than what we are. And in reclaiming the fact that "we are better than this," it's time that we not only believe it, but it's high time that we deliberately act upon it. It's time that we get past the errant idea that it's "beyond us" and that it takes "too much work" to do it. It's time that we step into the mindboggling expanse of who we were created to be, recognize the enormity of what that is, and live it out with a stubborn intensity and intentionality. It's time to wake up and realize that we are "better than this."
How's it Done?
As with any great things in life, simple answers are simply insufficient. But let me propose a place to begin.
First, I think that we need to recognize that we are more than what we've come to believe ourselves to be. We might not necessarily know exactly what that is or exactly what that means, but it's developing the recognition that we are "more." That recognition creates the awareness of a space that's largely uninhabited, but entirely available to us. That reality fosters a compelling willingness to move up and move out from wherever it is that we are because we've recognized that there's place to do that.
Second, it's about intentionally being better and deliberately doing better. It's about recognizing the limitations that we've habitually embraced, confronting those limitations when they pop up, and asking ourselves how we can take one step beyond them this time around. It's about identifying that this is how far we'd typically take something, and then purposefully taking it one step further. It's about persistence and purposefulness in the pursuit of something better.
Third, once we've taken a step further, it about recognizing that it actually worked because it typically does. It's about reinforcing the fact that we actually felt pretty good about it because we typically do. It's about pondering the fact that we went where we typically don't go and in going there it went really well, because it typically will. And it's about feeling that we're better than what we've historically chosen to be because we are, and now we're actually experiencing it!
Fourth, it's living it out right in front of the very people that we encounter every single day. "We are better than this," and we want that reality to become rampantly contagious to everyone that we meet. We want to create this infectious influenza that causes people to step up, step out, out of the belief that "they are better than this" because they are.
"We are better than this." It may be that we are living in a time in history where that message and that reality needs to be broadcast with all the intensity and every bit of emotion that we can muster. We appear to live in times that beg each of us to passionately live out of the conviction that "we are better than this." And in doing so, we rally those around us to embrace and live out the very same conviction. Indeed, if we respond to this reality we can change the world because the indisputable truth is that "we are better than this" which will make the world that we live in "better than what it is." How about being part of the effort?
© 2014 Craig Lounsbrough, M.Div., Licensed Professional Counselor