Sometimes life provides inspiring moments that are better than what I could come up with in my fantasy. For example, several years ago I landed, together with my then-wife on Crete, to start our one-week vacation. As it had been agreed beforehand, there was somebody waiting for us in the arrival hall, with our names on a piece of paper, to hand us the car we rented for that week.
And, it was not just somebody. It was a Greek god embodied! A tall and muscular young man in his late twenties, as handsome as a man can ever get, with longish black curly hair and a very attractive and dignified energy aura radiating all over, smiled at us charmingly and invited us to follow him to the car. Which we did, in silence, both amazed by his incredible appearance.
Car was in perfect condition, I signed the papers and as my then-wife was fiddling with her luggage, the Greek god gently pulled me aside and asked me with a quiet voice:
“Are you familiar with this car model?”
It was a soft-top 4×4 that I have never driven before, so I said: “Not with this particular one, no.”
He asked me, still rather quietly: “Do you know how to open and close the roof?”
“No, not really, never tried before…”
His voice became even more quiet, checking over my shoulder whether my then-wife could hear us: “Would you like me to show you how to do it?”
I was getting confused with all of it: “Sure, yes, of course, please do…”
Realizing that I obviously was not getting it, he leaned closer and smiled friendly: “You know, I don’t want to make you look stupid in front of your woman, so therefore I ask first. OK, let me show you now…”
While I did not quite share his somewhat patriarchal and machoistic values, I was astonished by this and had been marvelling at what happened for the rest of that week.
There was this incredibly handsome young man, probably already completely used to people swooning around him, who not only did not have to prove to himself nor to the world how amazing he was, but even had care for this middle-aged tourist, trying to help me, to support my self-image. Like: “Yes, I am indeed very much enjoying myself, and I would love to help you to enjoy yourself too…”
Instead of competition there was the sense of companionship, mutuality, and, yes, what in Nonviolent Communication we like to call “power-with relationships”. I want to shine in my power, and I want you to shine in your power too.
Though not a fan of Margaret Thatcher, I find these words of hers very relevant: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you are not”
Doubting our own power and beauty, and then wasting our lives in trying to prove it to ourselves and to others by crowing endlessly, is a result of trauma, of course. A lack of unconditional love, appreciation, acknowledgement, welcoming… in our early years that taught us that we need to deserve love, that we need to be this or that in order to be good enough, etc etc…
I so much hope that, in a couple of generations, we might have considerably less traumatized individuals in this world that will find it very natural and spontaneous to collaborate rather than compete, to care for each other instead of fighting, to openly and authentically connect with others instead of trying to impress them… Not because that would be wrong, but because they would be so comfortable with themselves, so not stressed-out by the fear of not being accepted and loved, so settled and whole. Who would naturally live by the Ubuntu wisdom: “I am because you are because we are” because they would feel it deep in their hearts and bones.
Yet, on the second thought, witnessing how very persistent is the culture of conditioning children into obedience, with punishment and reward, with shaming and blaming, with power-over attitude when they are still in their most vulnerable first years of life…, yes, witnessing all of this on a daily basis I am afraid that it might take much, much more than just a couple of generations.