I can’t be happy if everybody in this world is not happy: my battle against “personal communism” in the era of post cold war.

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I was born during cold war. And was a teenager during Gorbatchev’s Perestroika and later on when the Soviet Union fell apart. My country was a NATO member, and an ally to the USA. So communism was told to be the biggest threat at the time, and you could have serious trouble by defending it. I remember a young guy child?, 15 years old, who wrote Communism = to share, on the wall of his school back then. The school principal had reported him to the government and he went to jail. I had read it on the newspaper with a lot of pain. Of course, it’s all different now. There is no cold war between US and Soviet Union. There is not even a Soviet Union. Although communism is an obsolete word nowadays it still remains a concept on which I am reflecting a lot. Not on a political but personal level.

In fact, the idea of this post started the other day in the early morning when I was doing yoga in the middle of my living room. I felt something like a sort of large fishing net over me, covering the world, to shrink to the size of my head. It was like a silent friendly advice: “stop thinking about feeding the whole world, and get focused on your own good only.” I know it’s usually the opposite. All yoga prayers go like “for the good of the whole.” The advice was to the point. Maybe other people need to learn to be less selfish, while I need to learn to be a little bit more.

But I know I am not the only one. I know that for some people there is something like: not being selfish enough. I also think it’s a boundary problem (again). The idea is something like this: I can’t be happy if everybody in this world is not happy or I am not allowed to enjoy my good health if everybody in this world is not healthy. I call it “personal communism” and try to get rid of it because I think this way of thinking is not healthy and more of all is not sustainable. If we start to discuss whether communism is healthy or not I know the debate can be very passionate, even now, in post cold war era. Because all political discussions are. Just know that it’s only my opinion about the subject. Feel free to think differently. But please try to read this post until the end.

This way of thinking is just beyond the surface, and once uncovered can come to consciousness and be judged. Once you can judge it you know you will always lose to this game since you can never enjoy good things in life, like happiness, good health etc. because obviously not everybody will have them all at the same time.

Right now I am thinking about Stefan Zweig, who committed suicide with his wife during Second World War, in despair of humanity. But also, of a Turkish sociologist whose name I unfortunately forgot, but who also committed suicide many years ago saying “there is too much pain in this world”. To me it’s the same way of thinking, just taken further. The root idea is the same.

I was told once there has been only 50 years in World History with no war. And there will always be pain. When you commit suicide you don’t solve the humanity’s problem, you only add further pain for who remains. I wish I could have talked to them.

I know from my psychology studies that almost all of the time, opposite extremes are in fact the reverse of the same coin. When a family over spend his money, the next generation will either over spend too or be extremely frugal. Because when you don’t know what the right amount of something is, you can only go as far as you can. I believe it’s the same with selfishness/unselfishness. I believe in balance between taking and giving. Or between caring for others and caring for yourself. As the proverb says: charity begins at home.

To be able to set this balance you need healthy boundaries. There must be a clear here and there. I believe there is something as a basic selfishness which is a border between me and you. It further separates my goods from yours. I should be able to feel something different than you. Being empathetic is different than being fusional. (Now think about being fusional with the whole world.) So next time you watch the news, try to imagine a small wall around you, that protects you from the outside world, like a small garden where you can plant your happiness flowers and where the sun is allowed to shine.

See also: Boundaries: if you have hard time saying no, this might be why.

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sule
4 months ago

Çok güzel bir yazı olmuş bu. üzerinde konuşulacak çok şey var. Sanırım biz “gülmek, bir halk gülebiliyorsa gülmektir” diyen Edip Cansever’e inanarak büyüdük belki ondan, zor iş kendine odaklanmak. Oysa öte taraftan, tam da dediğin gibi hiç bir zaman hepimiz birden gülemeyeceğiz. O zaman dünyanın geri kalanından kopmadan kendi dünyamızda mutluluğu yakalayınca sıkı sıkıya yapışmak gerek. Başka türlüsü olmuyor. Büyük mutsuzluğa bir kişi daha eklenmiş oluyor sadece. çok yazasım/konuşasım var aslında bu konuda ama okunması gereken sınavlar beni bekler.

Ceren S.
Ceren S.
4 months ago

Joe’m herkes senden bir “translate” düğmesi eklemeni bekliyor, elçiye zevâl olmaz..
Bu konuda yazacaklarım var. Bu sabah inanılmaz tuhaf bir huyumu keşfettim, üstüne bu yazıyı okuyunca evrenden mesaj gelmiş gibi oldu. Sabah kızım gelip kedi gibi sürtündü, böyle yapınca genelde kucaklar bolca sarılırım ama yapamadım. Nedeni, yanında arkadaşı vardı bizde yatılı kalıyordu ve annesi bir haftadır diğer iki büyük kardeşi ile Berlin’de. Şimdi kızıma sarılsam, yazık çocuk annesini özleyecek.. Tabii burası Almanya durduk yere başkasının çocuğuna sarılmak çok tuhaf kaçar (ama ben hiç dinlemiyorum yapıyorum tabii, ama usturuplu yapıyorum yani uykuya giderlerken, günaydın derken falan yani bir “neden” varken) tabii stratejik bir hamleyle kızımın elinden kurtuldum ama içim de kıyıldı. Dedim yahu ne tuhaf, başkasının çocuğu annesini özler de üzülür diye kendi çocuğuma sarılmamayı seçtim…. Sanırım bu da senin anlattığın durumun güzel bir örneği. İçimize işlemiş. Tabii kahvaltı hazırlarken içime dokundu, hoş kızım fark etmemişti bile bu kaçma halini, dikkatini dağıtmış çaktırmadan sıvışmıştım ama yine de içime dokundu ve gittim “kızlar ne güzelsiniz siz” diye ikisini aynı anda kucakladım bolca da öptüm ama işte yine de içim bi tuhaf oldu…. Yani toplumsal tutum ve öğrenilmiş davranışlar annelik içgüdüsünün bile önüne geçti, tuhaf olan o..

Ruya ZCN
4 months ago

I agree with you. I think some of us should really learn to be more selfish and take care of ourselves rather than others. First, we should be happy and then we can make others happy. If I’m not happy how can I manage to make someone else happy? Boundaries are really vital and we should draw a line when it’s necessary.