Two unfortunate realities that most of us struggle to accept and end up getting completely side tracked by:
-You cannot avoid making others uncomfortable or unhappy when you are in your full authenticity and
-You cannot avoid being made to feel uncomfortable and unhappy by others who are in their full authenticity.
This is where the left, to me, fails pretty miserably in our pursuit of shifting culture towards collective care.
We turn collective care into a culture of enmeshment/codependency rather than one of differentiation and interdependence.
We cannot control the internal world of another.
And any time we attempt to, as long as validation is compulsory rather than authentic and spontaneous, we will always be eaten away by doubts that the validation we’re being offered isn’t genuine and that our connections are far more shallow than we imagine or wish them to be.
Sometimes, love, warmth, and friendship will grow from that. Sometimes it won’t. And even when warm connection does grow from it, it is unreasonable to expect we will agree with, like, or validate every single thing about each other. So connection or not, warm feelings is not a solid basis for solidarity.
So much wellness culture drills into our brains that it’s our job to make others feel comfortable and validated and conversely that it’s other’s jobs to do that for us.
Collective care to me is about mutual investment in each other’s survival. It isn’t about mutual compulsory validation. It isn’t even really about liking each other. It’s about a fundamental baseline that recognizes shared humanity.
Ithink it’s long past time we ditch the pursuit of validation-
both trying to control how we make others feel, and accepting that others don’t owe us validation that isn’t authentic.
And I think it’s even longer past time that we start to build our movements and communities on baseline respect for one another’s humanity than how much we like each other or how good we make each other feel.
Love and friendship should be the cherry on top of solidarity, not the condition.