living your best life has become motto and almost the zeigest of this decade. of course as a rich and developed nation that is keen to replace the diminishing influence of a religon based on suffering, coupled with a booming, ever-expanding, unbridled capitalist structure, we have turned to other feel-good measures that are compatible with our consumer lifestyle. our ideals are no longer attuned to sacrifice and redemption, we no longer work for salvation, in fact, we have become a culture that seemingly promotes selfish ideas.
this is no way a fulimination of abrahamic religions, nor is it the prediction of an inevitable decline. Ideas will adapt themselves to the context of each period. during the roman empire, the cross was considered a tropaion (sign of victory after the triumph of battle) rather than a symbol of suffering. for emperor constantine, the cross was a tool to stunt on his foes. similarly, worldly religions will as always, shift, transform and adapt to our reformed ideas.
but how have our ideas changed? firstly, our societies and economies changed, they grew and competed with others, fostering compeition, the obsession with productivity and commidification of time. simulatanouesly, the system prompted cosumerism and as the nation grew richer, money could buy more than before. feelings were bought, high fashion built a community and sense of belonging easily recognised by its emblem. new ideas of luxury were created that were now attainable by a growing middle class. the american dream was sold and repackaged to the aspiring working class witht the slogan “because you’re worth it”. this version of selfishness differs immensly to principles of self care and self worth. self worth means you cannot reduce your value to marketised goods. self care means that you intend to focus on your own spiritual growth.
i intend to argue that taking care of yourself first will inevitably help you to take care of others. I vouch for a utopia in which human needs are already met with the necessities of shelter and nutritious food, in such a world, we can focus on our pivitol relationships.
as social animals, our pleasure and pain is rooted from our relationships with other humans and animals. taking care of yourself puts you in a mindset in which you aren’t behaving badly to others, nor do you have expectation for others. of course having expecations is a valid demand but burdening others with our expectations causes animosity and finding the equilibirum between these two extremes will breed satisfaction, satisfaction in ourselves and with each other. and only when we truly look after ourselves, can we start to think about how we can help others.