Ubuntu, is a Zulu/Bantu phrase meaning “Human-ness or human kindness”, that as also been loosely translated to “I am because we are”.
I am because we are. I am because we are. I am because …. I’ve been mulling this over a lot lately. I’ve made the mistake of believing I am self-made, sometimes. I mean, of course I can acknowledge helping hands along the way, but I often saw myself as an isolated entity, not really fully grasping my impact on others, or theirs on me.
Quite simply, and yet, quite profoundly, I am because of others.
I am a daughter, and anything else I may be, because two people came together to bring me into this world.
I am sibling because I have siblings; eldest because four came after me.
I am a student because I have had teachers, leaders, and mentors.
I am a neighbor, and a tenant, a citizen, a team member, an employee, a cousin, a niece, a grandchild, a leader, a follower ….
I am only a friend because someone else calls me friend too. I would not be, otherwise.
And then it gets deeper.
Apart from God, I am only loved because someone loves me. I am only hated if hated by another. And to speak to my part, someone is loved when I love them, and hated when I hate them. Our choices, our actions, our very beings make someone else what they are. That is such a responsibility, but such a privilege, as well, to impact the lives of others so significantly.
Imagine leading a life that accounted for our impact on others. Even, can you picture you outside of yourself – Imagine taking care of yourself, because in doing so, you take care of someone else’s child, friend, sibling, and spouse. We are not our own.
Now, imagine existing in a world where this was the norm, and where your entire being were protected and valued because someone else accepted the responsibility of their impact on you, and accepted the consequences of their actions towards you onto themselves. We are only hurt when we hurt one another.
What are we without each other? We are, very literally, all in this together.
Take responsibility and ownership of the part you play in the big picture. And if you cannot take pride in your role and in your entire impact on others, it is never too late to change parts.