A wish for a You-AND-Me world
On the Bright Side
August 6, 2022
Sometimes I worry about world peace. I worry that no matter how noble a goal it is, it will never happen.
I worry about this because of the constant reminders I see all around me that people can't get along in the smaller bits and pieces of life, never mind the larger picture (i.e. the whole world). And it seems to be getting worse these days as some people seem to be outright embracing and glorifying the ugly side of language and attitude and actions.
So often, then, we seem to be living in a You-OR-Me world, where peace will never be an option because people are in some kind of self-imposed competition, thinking the only way they can get anywhere is to beat or best someone else, to be in charge of someone else, to feel good by making someone else feel bad ... instead of the more desirable You-AND-Me world, where people work together and respect each other and compromise and try to help each other.
Over the years I've seen many examples of people living in a You-OR-Me world, sometimes in corporate work situations, sometimes in public service organizations, sometimes in community service organizations. Sometimes in family situations, sometimes among friends. It can get a bit disheartening, and these days it seems so much more prevalent than it was even a few years ago.
How, I wonder, can we hope for peace in a world full of people with different beliefs and traditions, morals and mores, histories and hopes, when we can't even manage peace in a microcosm of folks who come together, often voluntarily, with shared interests and goals?
Sometimes it all seems so hopeless, but then, I've never been a hopeless–feeling kind of gal for very long. Whenever I start to worry about how impossible world peace may be, I start to remember and pay attention to how many people are practicing the You-AND-Me attitude, and it is through those people that I find hope.
They don't often get as much press time as bad news gets, but the world is also full of stories of people helping other people just for the sake of doing the right thing. If you look for the good stories you can find them, all over the world and even in our little corner of it.
Some of the stories are big stories, like those of people helping other people in the midst of all the flooding and tornado damage we hear about these days in the southeast. Some are smaller everyday stories, of people helping neighbors in need – cutting the grass for someone else, shoveling the neighbor's walk. Stories of people finding someone else's phone or billfold full of money and going the extra mile to return such findings to their rightful owners
People who perform random acts of kindness for their friends and relatives and strangers alike, are contributing to a Me-AND-You world every day, and those people can be found in every continent, every country, every community.
It's easy to find the examples of the sad and mean and destructive You-OR-Me thinking – they are all around us all the time. But if we start looking for them, we can also see that You-AND-Me people are there as well, and as usual, when you start looking for the good stuff you almost always find more than you thought you would.
I don't know how we will ever arrive at world peace, or even if it is possible. But it is a cop-out to think that since that question is too big or that goal is perhaps too unattainable, that it absolves me from trying to find and promote peace wherever I can.
Therefore, I'm going for it – I'm going for being one of those You-AND-Me kind of people. I hope you will join me ... and when enough of us get into that kind of thinking, maybe that world peace goal won't seem so unattainable after all.
© 2022 Mel White/Mel Makaw. Mel, Tehachapi writer/photographer, haas been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996, She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.