“I am not an Island!”

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It is a common phrase we hear, tucked in here and there to show that man is not self-dependent or independent, and in fact requires not only companionship but also strength in numbers in order to gain his sustenance.

If you come to think about it, even the natural order of things does not allow for me to be a complete loner. I was born as a sixth member of my family. Right when I was born I had two sets of grandparents, parents, fives uncles, an aunt, a dozen cousins and three (incredibly awesome) siblings.

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As we begin to grow up, we are institutionalized, by which I mean put into academic ones. From this point forth our life is just a race through one school to another, or to a college, and then to a university and then perhaps to another university. All these years you manage to gather another web of people you begin to depend upon. Whole categories worth of people; teachers, acquaintances, school friends, college friends, and university friends. If you are lucky, you get promoted to another institution after that which is called quite aptly; work. And there you have another set of people to forge through and pick as your own; boss, colleague, project manager, you name it.

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However, somewhere along the way we don’t just categorize the people according to how we know them, but also we begin to prioritize them. That uncle always gives me more Eidi on Eid so he’s the best. That school friend stole my eraser in kindergarten; she’s such a menace to society. That girl from university wear hideous clothes, does she not look at herself in the mirror before coming? I really don’t want to be seen with her.

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With this prioritization of the people in our life, we begin also to alienate the people in our life. Sometimes we do it to a single person out of some grudge we have or a bad past experience. But other times we do it as a group; someone who doesn’t fit our perception of a friend and hence cannot be included in our confidantes.

The truth is though that by prioritizing the people in our life, we begin to treat them like commodities. We label them; pervert, druggie, psycho, loser etc. And with these labels we begin to shed these labelled commodities from our lives, very much the same way we label our old clothes when cleaning out our closets as garbage, give away, hopelessly old etc and then continue to dump them.

What we need to realize is the difference between not being an island and reducing someone to an island. Where yes it is wise to have some level of prioritizing in the people you love and trust, there we must also be careful to not make someone feel excluded. So your group of friends does not like a person, it does not mean that you must dislike them as well. In fact, befriend them and show your friends what a great person that person really is; or at least try to be polite to them.

Reaching out to other people and accepting the fact that we are all not islands drifting in the sea is key to human existence. You are not alone if you are with the right persons and then you realize the sense in never letting anyone feel that way either.

And if you are among the few who have been made to feel lonely and commoditized, don’t be shy to say it aloud, “I’m not an island!”

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15 responses »

  1. It was an absolutely delightful read. Being a student of psychology, I couldn’t agree more with the writer’s perspective. It is comforting to read that someone is willing to break free from the societal shackles of ‘belongingness’ and accept people on a more equal ground. Though it is absolutely natural for one divide his respective social interactions into groups in order to identify better with his own self, one needs to make sure to do so in a healthy manner and not degrade the other. Accept that people will be different and that being different is healthy. If someone is different than you, it does not necessarily have to mean that he is bad. And who are we to “define” what good or bad is in the first place, right? Rise above and realize, we are all in the same boat, we are all humans first, and I can guarantee that the barriers that we’ve built for ourselves, curbing our human-to-human interaction will seize to exist. Lets stop shunning people out based on our subjective understanding of who they are and lets give the world an unbiased hug! We could all use one. I know I wouldn’t mind.

  2. Great piece of writing. I’m sure it’ll help readers to mould their perception regarding the point discussed. It sure was thought provoking, at least for me. Cheers!

  3. A very thought provoking article. Serves to remind the importance of one’s attitude towards people we dislike.

  4. This article was amazing! I love how it talks about what everyone has on their minds. Social exclusion can be a nightmare and its so common within our society. Even I admit that Im a culprit too. This article made me want to rethink and alter my actions. šŸ™‚

  5. A wonderful piece. It’s important to point out that there is always two sides to everyone’s story; “theirs” and “ours”. Who knows? The girl I think has terrible taste in clothing might actually think the same thing about me. People are different because the believe different things but they don’t have to be alienated because of their lifestyle. Over all an enjoyable read.

  6. This is an amazing thought provoking article. I think that everyone must read this article as it can change the way one thinks of other people around them, especially towards those whom they tend to ignore so easily as if they are non existent, hence making them believe that they are a one lonely island in a sea.

  7. We as a society have created these hypothetical labels through which we define everybody and everything to fit a description of what we think is “socially correct” not considering that society is made up of individuals each of whom have their own place and a one fit all solution is not for everyone. So throw off the shackles of society…show your individualism and maybe one day these labels will no longer exist and then no one needs to be an island but play a part in each others lives and be there in their own ways.

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