This is an article that I have had kicking around in my head for quite some time.
It was originally an uplifting and positive article. The context has changed, though. The world has changed.
The idea centers on a Kurt Vonnegut quote.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretend to be.”
This is a very powerful truth. One that I firmly believe we should harness to become better people.
Become Your Ideal Self
The original context for this article was quite simple.
Think about the type of person that you want to be. What traits do you wish that you had? How do you wish people saw you?
Next, think about how the ideal version of you would act in a given situation. Then act that way.
Want to be more generous? Think about how a generous person would act on a day-to-day basis. Start working those actions into your day.
Want to be more kind? Think about how a kind person would handle interactions. After you have a conversation, think about what the ideal version of you would have done differently and try to make that change for the next conversation.
When you start acting like the ideal version of yourself, you gradually become the ideal version of yourself.
Hate in Virginia
The Vonnegut quote is from a book called Mother Night.
The narrator that says it spent years pretending to be a devoted Nazi propagandist.
You can see why this article idea floated back to the top of my mind after the events in Charlottesville this weekend.
Nazis and other white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. They came armed with heavy weaponry and body armor. They joined together to send a message that the era of hoods, hidden identities, and shame is over.
While this event was shockingly blatant, this type of hate and bigotry is practiced all around the country every day. It didn’t start with Charlottesville and it won’t end with Charlottesville.
The organizers of the hate-filled rally have already announced bigger plans:
“And to everyone, know this: we are now at war. And we are not going to back down. … We are going to go bigger than Charlottesville. We are going to go huge. We are going to take over the country. … We learned a lot today. And we are going to remember what we learned. This has only just begun.”
What Would Your Ideal Self Do?
All of us have heard of discrimination and atrocities throughout history and wondered how we would have responded.
Would we have hid our neighbors in the attic during the Holocaust?
Would we have stood up to slave owners before the Civil War?
Would we have fought against Jim Crow?
Surely the ideal versions of ourselves would have had the bravery, the empathy, the love, and the drive to stand up for the oppressed against the powerful.
What would your ideal self do today?
If you had the necessary bravery, empathy, love, and drive to stand up for the oppressed, what would you do?
Let’s pretend that we are the ideal version of ourselves. Let’s act like we have those traits.
Let’s take those steps. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s become the warriors of love needed to combat hate and white supremacy.
Let’s choose to be careful about what we pretend to be.
Let’s choose to become our ideal selves.