10 Truths We All Share in Common

As we head toward another divisive election cycle, I’m wondering if anyone is fed up yet. I am.

Like the Twin Towers burning to the ground, both parties are collapsing into a toxic rubble. As an exhausted onlooker, I wonder, what can I do?

My answer is to look beyond the things I have no control over, and affirm the truth of who we are: “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Hokey as that may sound, I’m going on a heap of faith that we can get there despite the mess we’re in. We survived the Civil War. And I don’t believe God wants our “shining city on the hill” to go completely dark.

So my pledge, and I hope you’ll embrace it, too, is to keep the light going and make it shine even brighter. Personally, I can best do this by looking beyond the truths we don’t share in common and holding fast to the ones we do.

1. We all need love

Can anyone deny this truth? I don’t mean romantic love—which is nice, too. But barring that, Divine love will do, along with the comforting love of anyone who cares for us or leans on us. Love validates our existence which is why we all need it.

2. We enjoy a good joke

Humor makes us laugh and uplifts our spirits even in our darkest moments. We don’t all giggle at the same type of joke, but we’re all ears when someone says they’ve got a joke to tell, no matter how busy we are. For me, laughter is an angelic being because even God can make us laugh.

3. We berate ourselves

If you’re paying attention to your innermost thoughts or self-talk, chances are you berated yourself at least once today. Maybe you tripped or looked in the mirror, or forgot to tie your shoelaces. So next time you snicker at the oddball seated at the other desk, keep in mind they’re likely bemoaning themself.

4. We wonder if others like us

Admit it, you want to be liked. Social media proves this by giving users the power to measure how many “likes,” thumbs up, or positive comments they get. It’s likely our desire to be liked is coded in our DNA. When actress Sally Field won her second Academy Award, she giddily exclaimed, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me right now! You like me!” Wanting acceptance from our tribe is profoundly human.

5. We marvel at nature

Whether it’s a butterfly, a potato bug, a Venus Flytrap, or a blue moon, children and adults alike are enchanted and entranced by the intelligence and beauty of nature. From sea to shining sea, we the people are part of the vast American landscape that glitters with all its goodness, beauty, and colors, but indivisibly, we are as much a marvel to the world as the rest of God’s creation. Divided we are not.

6. We contradict ourselves

Yes, we all do this because we enjoy sharing our opinions. Just like politicians who contradict themselves, our opinions will change from day to day depending on what latest news we’ve devoured. Opinions are as transient as a nasty virus floating through the air. You catch it and pass it to others. Or you can let it pass and be happy it didn’t infect you.

7. We offend others

This is a truth no one can deny. We are all offenders from time to time. Sometimes we just slip up and behave irrationally. But sometimes we’re intentional, striking out of anger or hurt, which is never a good thing. There’s no honor in offending others, even if you have a right to free speech.

8. We embellish the truth with fanciful lies

I know people who tell tall tales just to watch someone’s jaw drop. We can humor them. Often lies are innocent and benign, told chiefly to protect oneself or another. But sometimes lies drive people over the edge—which lead them to harm others or, unwittingly, themselves. People also lie to get what they want. So who can you trust? Hopefully those you love, and most likely your own instincts.

9. We suffer pain and humiliation

Nobody gets a pass on this one. No matter how arrogant and above it a person may be, at some point they will feel the sting of egg on their face. This includes you. So don’t get smug when it happens to someone else. Failing is part of being human. Have compassion so that others have compassion if it happens to you.

10. We hope for better things to come

Unless you’re very old, you fantasize about your future and hope for better things. Such fantasies show us who we truly are and help to remake us throughout our lives. If you haven’t “made it” yet, keep at it. Life is a climb toward heaven. Everyone goes there even if you think some won’t. That’s just another thing we share in common.

You may look at others and say, “They’re not like me.” They may not look like you, speak like you, or dress like you, but they largely are you because they are human.

Sanatana

All amazing suggestions and badly needed!!!

Evangel

Thank you. We come from the same earth, we are all hoping for pretty much the same things. And we all still think politicians are going to make our lives better. That's like saying saltine crackers are going to fix our problems.

Slipstream

I agree with this 100%. Thank you for bringing it to our attention and reminding us that we are indeed the same. As intelligent beings, we should be able to sort our differences of opinion more wisely and compassionately.

Evangel

I agree. We should be able to, but it's possible people also enjoy the excitement of conflict and war and the rise they get from hating others--until it impacts them or those they love.

Well Street

You've hit the bullseye with each of these truths, and number nine especially resonates. Being smug and finding humor in the misfortunes of others is seeing ourselves as separate from them and their experience and shows a disconnect from empathy.

The world needs an empathy transfusion, so I'll join your pledge of holding fast to our common truths and extending compassion.

Evangel

Thank you. An empathy transfusion sounds like a great solution. It seems people have to experience their own suffering before they wake up and grasp the suffering of others.

Thanks for taking the pledge!