In a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School, Ta-Nehisi Coates noted how during the French revolution, poor aristocrats were vehement, more than anyone else, about protecting the borders between them and peasants because “the aristocracy was all they had.” In other words, they needed to uphold a distinction of superiority between themselves and peasants. Ta-Nehisi attributed this to the human proclivity to having to be on top, and in our world, that necessitates others being on the bottom.
Why is that the case? Why do most people define being on top as being on top of others? Why can’t being on top be defined as being our best selves rather than being better than others?
It’s imperative we take a deep look at how we define power because that’s what we’re really talking about here. We’ve defined power in relation to others. Being powerful means having power over others, being dominant, superior. When we define power in this way, power becomes rooted in scarcity: there’s no room for all of us to be great; there are only winners and losers; kill or be killed; life is a zero-sum game. Hence, in order for us to be on top, we must be on top of others.
This goes against the universal truth highlighted in the previous post: we are one. Because we are one, we are all worthy (of love and belonging), and are all endowed with power, no more or less than others. So why do we subscribe to this belief about power that’s […]
What does it mean to be a liberated being?
We’re always hearing people say they want to be free. And yet, when you ask people to describe what freedom looks like, they have a hard time envisioning it or view freedom solely through the lens of financial freedom, or other external, material sources.
While money can provide financial freedom by offering us more appealing lifestyle choices, funding what we feel called to do, manifesting our visions and helping us leave unpleasant or dysfunctional circumstances (abusive relationships, stifling jobs, etc.), there is something more fundamental than money at play that allows us to have and make these choices: unconditional love of ourselves.
When we have unconditional love for ourselves, we hold an inherent sense of worthiness: that we’re worthy of love and belonging without condition; that we matter, no matter what. This is what gives us the power to create what we feel called toward (healthy loving relationships, bodies, businesses, work, wealth, social movements, etc.) and the power that allows us to leave or reject what doesn’t serve us.
Having money without unconditional love for ourselves, for example, won’t completely allow us to break free from dysfunctional relationships; we wouldn’t believe we are worthy of relationships that value us since we wouldn’t even value ourselves.
Having money without unconditional love for ourselves won’t allow us to build movements since we would believe we’re not worthy of realizing the world we envision; be susceptible to naysayers for fear of losing or not getting love or acceptance; or be distrustful […]