If I Diminish You I Diminish Myself – Archbishop Desmond TuTu

In 2004 I had the great gift of spending a few days in Vancouver, listening to the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. In summary, it was a profound experience and for all the wise words I heard, I took away the following:

  • “Never resist a generous impulse.” Dalai Lama
  • The concept of Ubunto, “to be human we need other humans.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Today, my friend and colleague Patti Morris posted this explanation of ubunto on her Facebook page. It seems to me that this week I need not add any more words to the millions of words out there. Words can be used as gifts and as weapons. These words are a gift.

“In my culture the highest praise that can be given to someone is “ubuntu” … a central tenet of African philosophy: the essence of what it is to be human … People with ubuntu are approachable and welcoming; their attitude is kindly and well-disposed; they are not threatened by the goodness in others because their own esteem and self-worth is generated by knowing they belong to a greater whole … No one comes into the world fully formed … We need other human beings in order to be human.”  – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

If I diminish you, I diminish myself.

Poignant words from Martin Luther King from 53 years ago.

For those who are telling me to keep my mouth shut, I can’t do that. I’m against segregation at lunch counters, and I’m not going to segregate my moral concerns. And we must know on some positions, cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there are times when you must take a stand that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but you must do it because it is right.

We can all learn from these people of wisdom and action.
May you all be safe and healthy and may we all grow in awareness of what is needed now.
I will see you next week. With appreciation and love, and sorrow too, Trudy
7 replies
  1. Sue Fitzwilson
    Sue Fitzwilson says:

    Much love to you Trudy. Thank you for finding ways to see the positive and a more helpful was of being humans.

    We all need it right now. Too much tradegy and sadness, but brightness from those who care and speak out their truth.

  2. Carol Ingells
    Carol Ingells says:

    Thank you, Trudy, for the wisdom you have shared and for not overwhelming us with “other words”.

  3. Patti Morris
    Patti Morris says:

    Love you my friend. Thankful always for you!

    I love your hesitation around more words, Trudy. I have felt the same … a need to grieve, to reflect, to listen, to learn, to work to understand … and to understand in particular, how I can from my very different experience act in solidarity and support.

    Thank you for always being a thoughtful and inspiring presence for me and others.


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