Prompt of the Day [POD] #2: What Good Citizens Do
Here’s your prompt: What does being a Good Citizen of this universe look like to you? What shifts might you try on, as you explore the path of your personal flavor of Good Citizenship? Would you shift what you allow into your consciousness? Would you invest more or less time in caring for your own feelings and energy and state?
Does it feel selfish, the idea of intentionally focusing on things that make you feel good vs. focusing on the news? Or does it feel like increased capacity to do what you are here for: love, joy, creating, relating, etc.?
Does it feel like you would have any less compassion if you shifted your focus? Are you attached to the idea that you can’t turn your head away? Or are you open to the idea that, in a steadier state, you might receive more inspiration and insight into how you can be part of the solution?
Do you already have practices that bulletproof your heart and mind from the chaos of the headlines? How did you arrive at them?
Does making any of these shifts feel possible for you? Does it feel like obligation or like an access pass to the freedom to enjoy your life?
To me being a good citizen means that I am taking responsibility for my actions. I am accountable for my contributions to society. I’m not infringing upon others with my behaviors. Much of this starts with what I focus my attention on daily, and at times moment by moment. Our thoughts drive our emotions and our actions, so what I put in, I am bound to get out.
I believe that each person is responsible for their own actions. If I chose to focus on the past, I can not move forward. I need to focus my attention on where I am now and what steps I am taking to improve my own life. At the end of the day, I am who I am responsible for (And my children when they were minors).
If I am acting out of past hurt or other emotions, I am likely to try to blame those past events for my actions. Yes, I may have been dealt a crappy hand as a child or teenager, but there comes a time where I have to set that aside. I have to realize I can play the victim or I can have victory in my life, but I can not be both. If my actions are driven by what she, he, they, or it, I am not taking responsibility for my actions. I am not being a good citizen. Good citizens are present in the here and now, accept that their actions have consequences beyond the immediate, and are willing to face those consequences head on.
I also believe that we all have something to contribute to society. As a citizen if I am taking more than I am giving, I am not being a good citizen. I am not talking about financially, certainly there are people who are in greater need and others who have more to give. I am talking about how I pour into the people and community I live in and society as a whole. Am I using my skills and abilities, my talents, gifts and knowledge to help someone other than me and mine? If my circle doesn’t expand outside of bloodline and marriages, I am not being a good citizen. Good citizens have compassion in action for those in need.
Good citizens do not demand that everyone else think like them, act like them, or be like them. Good citizens are not clones, but individuals with unique experiences and perspectives. They accept that there are differences between people, but that doesn’t mean that they must be enemies. Good citizens can agree to disagree even on principles that are near and dear to them. Good citizens can discuss those differences, even civilly debate them, without vilifying those who are not in line with their ideology. My behaviors to not take away from the freedoms of others, not do they impose action on those who don’t agree, As a good citizen, I can have my own opinion and be okay that others may have a different one.
As a good citizen, I have to realize that there is very little in the world that is really about me. I can see the needs of others, and while the do not take away from my own needs, I can still acknowledge the needs and meet the person where they are helping to meet the need where I am able. I can also see my own needs and do not feel I have to sacrifice my own needs to please someone else.
A good citizen is informed, but not so responsive to news that there is no peace in life. Much of what is targeted by the media and social media is designed for reaction – good or bad. There is little importance placed on the truth about what is put out for others to read, it is only seeking spotlight. I need to be aware of what is going on in my community, state, nation and world but I also need to watch how I am reacting and limit those things that have no bearing on my life or on the welfare of mankind.
I am not a perfect citizen, but I definitely do my best to be a good citizen. I help those I can. I share what I am able. I take responsibility for my words and actions. I do not force my beliefs on others, but accept people where they are. When I am passionate about something, I lend my voice to it, but am okay if others do not join in my rally.
I am a person who definitely limits the outside influences of life. I scan headlines, and will read or watch if it is something that impacts my life or interests me. I will delve into topics that interest me, looking at all sides of the story. I tend to stay away from commercials, especially during elections. I prefer to seek the original source than read someone’s opinion of news – I’m looking for the original statement or story, even knowing much of that has been edited with a biased view. I get weather alerts for safety. I get amber alerts because I care about the children of my community. I realize I may not be the first to know about things, but I know about those things that are important.
On the positive side, I try to fill my day with things that are worthy of my attention. I start my morning off with quiet time in the Bible and with devotions. As I am getting ready in the morning I am listening to positive messages. As I drive to work I am listening to positive and encouraging music. While at work, I try to pause and truly take time for myself to stay centered and grounded. I skip the commercials whenever possible, if I turn the television on at all. I will tell social media to show me less of people who post negative rhetoric all the time. I don’t want to unfriend them, but I will certainly try to see less of it. They are entitled to their comments and shares.
Maybe this was a move of protection for my heart. I tend to think it was more for the sanity of my mind. I don’t want to walk around in high anxiety, depressed, or angry – feelings that the news and social media tend to evoke. I prefer life to be peaceful and joyous. I want to know what I need to, but I don’t want to get pulled into drama and agendas that are not mine to own.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.