Determining who we are or how we are doing in life by comparing ourselves to others will never give us a stable or reliable measure of our well-being, because comparative judgments always shift based on who we are comparing ourselves to. We do not need to live our lives measuring ourselves against external standards set for us by others. We do not need to limit ourselves to those options. When we view who we are on the model of interconnectedness, we know that we are no single thing — not a fixed or bounded identity. The options for who we can become are as boundless as the number of points in an open network. Since we are related to all other points, we can strengthen our connections and grow in any directions. We can set our own course in life.
I feel that seeing ourselves as interdependent rather than as separate individuals is more productive because it offers more opportunities for freedom. We do not need to define ourselves by how we stand up to an endlessly moving external measure. Individuality gives a sense of restriction. Interdependence gives a greater sense of possibility.
from the book Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society
Read a random quote or see all quotes by the 17th Karmapa.
Further quotes from the book Interconnected:
- The deeper common ground all living being share
- Collective actions and attitudes
- Delight in positive thoughts
- Gradual change
- Our intimate dependence on the natural environment
- Interdependent individuals
- Opening up to the view of interconnectedness
- A main condition for our selfishness
- Outer and inner world
- The best way to love oneself
- Everything and everyone is benefiting you
- Limitless aspirations
- When we ignore our interdependence
- We hold nothing back
- Keeping the door to improvement open
- Thinking about the consequences of our collective actions
- The workings of interdependence