Work towards outcomes that benefit the many - not just the few.
To citizen is to do all of the above for the benefit of the many, not the few. It is to value the collective, not just the individual. When we show up, invest in relationships, and understand power, it isn’t really helping us citizen if we only do those things for ourselves and our own private benefit. To citizen is to belong to and value the collective, so our civic actions should contribute to outcomes that have a collective or public benefit . In Western societies, this can be a hard sell. “If I help someone else, doesn’t that just disadvantage me? Isn’t that communism??” Many of us learned to see the world in this zero-sum way. But if we recognize that “a stranger is just part of me I do no yet know” and if we value our interdependence as much as our independence, then valuing the collective is also valuing ourselves. It is enlightened self-interest. Joining with others to use our collective power to benefit the many* is the very definition of self-government. That’s what it means to citizen.