The title of this week’s post comes from one of Macklemore’s most famous songs, Same Love. I felt as though it encapsulated this week’s topic, which is our inextricable connection to one another as human beings.
This is yet another idea inspired by Dr. Brené Brown. Recently I read her book, Braving the Wilderness, where she discusses this topic of all humans having an inextricable connection to each other. While reading her explanation of this phenomena, I couldn’t help but think that it is a key part to understanding the importance of kindness. She talks about how this inextricable connection manifests itself in experiences of collective joy and pain with others. They could be with people we know, but we can also share these experiences with strangers. Sometimes, these experiences we share with strangers are more impactful than the ones we share with people we know. They are reminders that everyone around us has the capacity to feel such strong emotions; that we all share this human experience. It seems as though for this reason, joy and pain are feelings that are difficult to be felt alone.
However, finding this connection can be difficult to do in our current society. Another notion Dr. Brown discusses in, Braving the Wilderness, is one of the biggest drivers of division we face today, and that is the belief that, “if you’re not with me, you’re against me.” Dr. Brown says that, “It’s an emotional line that we hear everyone, from politicians to movie heroes and villains, invoke on a regular basis” (p. 92), which I couldn’t agree with more, especially in our current state of politics. I often see this mentality arise in religion as well. “You’re either a believer, or you’re not”, “You’re either one of us, or you’re not”. However, I find this ‘othering’ to be hypocritical because whatever you believe in, whether it be God, the Universe, Nature, each and everyone one of us comes from it. It’s how we are inextricably connected.
Rather than trying to assimilate others to agree with our personal values and beliefs, we should collectively acknowledge there is something bigger than all of us that connects us to one another. Dr. Brown says that, “the more we seek moments of collective joy and show up for experiences of collective pain, the more difficult it becomes to deny our human connection, even with people we may disagree with” (p. 129). We have a lot more in common with each other than we think we do. There is a reason why we feel a certain way when we attend events with a group of people, whether it be church, a concert, a festival, you name it. It’s because we all crave the opportunity to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. It’s in those situations where we feel the “human spark,” as Dr. Brown describes it.
I believe a huge part of being kind is actively pursuing to focus more on the commonalities we share with our fellow humans than the differences. When we experience these similarities, it is then we realize that we’re all inextricably connected. It’s in those moments we realize that whatever God we believe in, we come from the same one. As Madonna once famously said, “I am because we are. We all bleed the same colour. We all want to love and be loved.”