I see something in my work as a labor organizer again and again. This is probably something you can see in a lot of different situations where people interact with each other. People judge each other. People assume bad intent. People jump to the worst possible conclusions and this happens regularly. It’s usually top down, managers assuming negative intent from employees, but not always. Sometimes it’s the other way around. And also the workers seeing the worst in each other.
Because it’s easy for us, at times, to lose sight of our shared humanity. Somehow it’s a thing where we can forget that other people are people, just like us.
It’s true. We get so caught up in what we’re doing and our baggage and our desires that we let this knowledge slip out of our minds. It seems like something we learn about humanity when we’re very little, but at the same time we can tend to lose sight of it. Every person you meet has hopes and dreams. Every person you meet has things they don’t like about their life. Every person you meet is getting older, and struggling with health issues, and losing people they love.
Every person you meet has been traumatized by a worldwide pandemic for the past two years and the long-term implications of this are still unknown. I try to remind myself of this trauma when it seems like a person is being really unreasonable.
In his book ‘A Fearless Heart’, Thupten Jinpa says, “In the end, no matter how complex, crowded, or messed up modern society might appear to be, it is made up of individuals just like you and me.”
We see this problem everywhere if we pay attention. It is the thing happening in American politics right now. We forget other people are people when they disagree with us. Even if someone has a view that I find to be truly troubling, I don’t have to stop seeing them as a person. I feel like things used to be better than they are now, but that’s probably not the case. Now just seems bigger because it’s now.
We need to learn to connect with others on a human level again. That’s the only thing that will help us.
Jinpa goes on to say, “When we look, we can always find opportunities to express our compassionate side through kindness in everyday life.”