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It all begins with you... and me.

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Sometime [a long time] ago, I attended college, one that looked at society from the point of view of the individual. Their reasoning was that towns, cities and countries were made up of many individuals, so looking at the basic unit that made up the whole was quite helpful.

Thirty-three years later, and I now understand how important that really is. Every policy, every cultural norm, and every major decision a society makes, is ultimately influenced by the emotions, experiences, and perceptions of its individual members.

Angel Orengo

A leaf by itself may seem insignificant, but ultimately, the health of a tree depends on the well-being of each of its leaves. Similarly, the well-being of a society depends on the mental and emotional health of its individuals. If the leaves are withering, the tree suffers, and in the same way, if individuals in society are hurting, the entire community feels the impact.

You see, when I hurt, when I'm angry, feeling guilty or ashamed, it is very likely that every action I take, in fact, my entire life, will be lived in the service of those emotions. So in general, when we experience murders, war, corruption, or any other form of societal issue, it’s clear that these are reflections of the individual and collective emotions and traumas of the individuals who make up that society.

Over the years, I've come to recognize the profound interconnectedness of human beings. Our emotions, beliefs, and actions ripple outwards, influencing those around us. When we neglect our own well-being, we indirectly contribute to the larger maladies of society. But on the flip side, when we nurture our mental and emotional health, we not only uplift ourselves but also have the potential to bring about positive change in our communities.

Now, more than three decades since I left that college, the lessons I learned there seem more relevant than ever. In a world that often feels fragmented and chaotic, it's vital to remember that behind every headline, behind every conflict, there are individuals with their own stories, struggles, and emotions.

If we truly wish to bring about lasting change in our world, it begins by understanding and addressing the needs of its basic unit – the individual. By offering compassion, support, and understanding to ourselves and others, we can create a more harmonious and empathetic society. It's really that simple.

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