‘I’ am sorry for ‘We’

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.
Sigmund Freud
A few weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to one of the weekly meetings of the local chapter of ManKind Project. Apparently my topics of choice had caught the attention of Glenn Barker from ManKind Project’s Chicago Chapter. It was him who directed me to the chapter located in my area. I was more than impressed with the work this organization is doing and I wish I could participate more often with them. Unfortunately, the days of their weekly meetings conflict with commitments I already have.

But this is not about conflicted personal planning or about the organization per se, but rather how I was called out during the meeting. As I spoke with some of the members about what we did here at Being Caballero, one member called me out on ‘We.’ If I wrote the articles, why did I use ‘we’? And that got me thinking.

When I started writing, others in the team would look over my work. I would bounce ideas back and forth with friends and colleagues, using the debates as a means of testing and reviewing ideas. Even if I wrote the original articles and did the actual posting, others were involved in the process, and I felt it was a team effort. And in a way, it was done to keep my ego in check. At no point would I assume absolute praise for the work that was a team effort…

And that sounds pretty considerate on my part till I realized that night that there is a flip side to the coin.  By constantly saying ‘We’ I was also avoiding absolute responsibility for the written words in the site.

That’s when I realized how we do this every day, in many aspects of life. A couple, a group, or an organization might say ‘we decided’ on this or that. The truth is that one person decided, and the others agreed. And there is nothing wrong with having the original idea, nor is there something wrong with agreeing. Yet by saying ‘we’, whoever thought up the idea can avoid responsibility for it, yet is more than willing to take praise for its success.

‘We’ is nothing more than a way to avoid saying ‘I’, a way to avoid the heavy weight that comes from responsibility. ‘I’ can have an idea. ‘I’ can take action. And if you agree with me, or think in a similar manner, ‘You’ can join me. If you disagree ‘You’ can question ‘Me’, and it would be ‘My’ responsibility to address it.

Because when everything is said and done, no matter how many others help me out, no matter how many things influence my actions; ‘I’ am responsible for ‘Me.’