We acquired most of our beliefs and values from other people during our childhood. This was a mixture of what they were taught in their childhood and whatever changes they made to suit their needs. All of this was what other people found helpful or harmful for them but times have changed and we have to look to the future in a very different world.
Like every other person before us, we face the conflict between our need to belong and our need to be an individual, but there are compelling reasons why we should change how we judge our self worth and self confidence as we face the problems of this century. By changing with the times, we stand to gain a resolution of our inner conflict and have happier relationships with other people. We could also avoid the inevitable disastrous consequences of an economic system based on continuous growth. We could do our bit to have a base of sustainable development adopted. Sustainable development: not sustainable growth.
We could judge everything by its effect on sustainability and by that I mean maintaining a balance of three equally important things: a sustainable population level; a sustainable use of resources; and an economic system based on a smarter use of resources. Development is an important human need but it should result from a smarter use of resources while maintaining a steady economy and population level. Global cooperation is essential for establishing effective sustainable development and that means we need to treat the people of all nations as equals.
Instead of going along with our society’s adversarial competitiveness, this new base for judging our self esteem, self confidence and importance would be our level of skills, knowledge and performance in regard to sustainable development. And our cooperation with others to achieve this would bring a sense of belonging and dynamic peace to our relationship with people and with the environment.