We are all born upside down. We usually don’t realize it for many years, and many go their whole lives and never get it figured out. We don’t feel upside down, so we figured the rest of the world must be. Let me explain.
When we are young, we begin to make observations about our world that seem to make sense. If we want something, like a toy or candy, we can take it from someone else and then we will have. We learn that if we want attention, we can try to gain sympathy or manipulate others into giving us what we want. When we are little, this seems to work well.
This type of behavior comes naturally, and we really don’t need to learn It. It’s more of just an acknowledgment rather than a learned perspective. It lines up with what we already want to believe. It’s our nature.
We live in an upside-down world. It is the biggest enigma in history. Those who figure it out can make the flip and move on, and those that don’t, get caught up in a trap that keeps them assuming up is down, and down is up. It’s easy to get caught in this trap, even after we have figured it out.
Have you heard of the Golden Rule? We are born into a different set of rules. This is where it gets interesting. The Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would have them treat you”. That rule goes against our nature. This is not at all what comes naturally, nor does it even seem right to our upside down nature. Its easier to say “Do to others, before they get a chance to do to you”.
I have heard people say things like “You have to have your own back, because no one else will,” or “I’m looking out for number 1”, “You can’t trust anyone but yourself.”
When I observe struggling people, who are unhappy, failing to find their purpose, I see a common pattern. It seems to be that by default, we are the main character in our own story. We seem conditioned to live in such a way that we try to funnel joy, pleasure, attention, acceptance and resources to ourselves. We want to be loved and admired. We want to be noticed. We want to have resources and power that allows us to shine among others. More than anything, we want others to think well of us, to be impressed, accepted, even admired.
The Golden Rule seems like foolishness, or at best a tool to help us shine. We think that the greater we exalt ourselves the more we will shine…
The Paradox of Generosity says that “The more we give, the more we will have, and the more we take, the less we will have,” It seems more logical to say that “The more we give, the less we have, and the more we take, the more we will have.” That lines up with our upside down logic and reasoning. And this is the crux of the problem.
But what if we have it all wrong? What if the secret to life is to flip our paradigm upside down? What if it’s not about me? What if instead of remaining the main character in our own story we could see ourselves as a supporting character? Someone in a supporting role existing to add to other people’s stories. To funnel joy, pleasure, attention, and acceptance toward others. A person with a purpose, someone who sees the world not from their own self-serving perspective, rather objectively with stories to contribute to.
All our stories are overlapping. What we do affects others and what they do affects us. Maybe it’s time to stop treating others as if they are a part of your story. Maybe it’s time to consider removing yourself as the main character at the top of the pyramid, and try taking on the role of supporting cast at the bottom. We were born upside down, but we don’t have to stay that way.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25
I can’t think of a better main character.