Let’s change the world, one ego at a time (starting with mine)
By Lara Nuer
15 years ago this day, Claire Nuer (pictured at left) who co-founded the LaL methodology 30 years ago, passed away. She was my mother, my mentor and my best friend. She inspired these thoughts in me, as a wish for 2014 and beyond.
I believe we are born with a need to contribute, to make a difference in the world.
Yet we have been bullied and have bullied. We alienate others when we feel hurt and raw. We are hurt and we hurt back. We need to be right. We need to prove how smart we are. We need to win the argument. We build up walls, we’re guarded. We cyberbully. We blast a righteous abrasive email and cc the whole world. We’re passive aggressive. We’re aggressive. We’re passive.
For each of us, there is a gap between our professed values and our daily behaviors, when our ego feels threatened.
Our ego defense mechanisms hurt others, who then in turn hurt someone else. It is only because in small ways, in our daily lives, we play out the victim/victimizer cycle that it is possible for countries, races and communities to do the same. I set the tone in my micro world for what is possible on a macro scale.
“Never Again”. What if it started with me?
Am I willing to be aware of my reactive behaviors, my defense routines?
Am I wiling to admit them to you, here, and ask for your support to work on them, to stop me if I fall into one of them?
What if that feels raw, exposing? What if I don’t look perfect, like I have it all together? Is being the change that I want to see in the world worth that discomfort?
Then, let’s catch ourselves when we are demonizing another. Let’s reconnect with our ability to empathize when our ego feels threatened.
Let’s stop the victim/victimizer cycle when we feel victimized.
Let’s ask ourselves: What is my “Noble Goal”? How do I want to leave the world a better place? What difference do I want to make?
How do I want to behave when my ego is threatened, so that in that moment, I contribute to a context for humanity, rather than destruction?
Am I willing to talk about it, with all of you, even if I feel exposed or vulnerable?
Will we support one another on this journey?
That is my wish for 2014.
In memory of my grandfather Henry Nuer, who perished in Auschwitz, and of my mother Claire Nuer, who turned her loss and trauma into an unwavering commitment to help release others from the prisons of their egos.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela