remembering humanity

OR Putting Yourself in Their Shoes

Something happened today in one of my classes that reminded me quite abruptly and poignantly of a problematic issue I have wanted to open up for discussion for a long time now. The issue concerns everyone everywhere.

When dealing with our fellowman, do we remember who they are? Do we remember they are a person just like ourselves? Do we strive to breathe (and think) before we speak words of wrath or even just slight irritation?

I ponder on this social issue because I have transgressed against many a member of this world family in a moment of fiery temptation that inadvertently objectifies and dehumanizes someone who is a person just like me who is living and breathing and stressed out and having health problems, love problems, family problems, possibly mental problems--just like me. I used to not realize that I had even hurt anyone's feelings. I couldn't see how my words cut them like a knife to the heart or how I was rejecting their trust and love through my insensitivity. Through many many ugly situations and hours and even days and weeks of contemplation I began to see how I was hurting others and hurting myself.

If you couldn't tell by my blog, I love people. Making new friends--and keeping them--has been a hobby of mine since my earliest recollection. This issue with forcing people into a corner of distaste for being around me has been more than problematic. It has been in direct opposition to all that I love and want for my life. So figuring out how to see people in the midst of challenging situations has become a facet of my life's work.

Whenever I begin to realize how I might be objectifying someone, I stop, breathe, and begin asking questions so I can better understand where they are coming from. I attempt to rehumanize them in my mind because they deserve it by default of actually being human. It seems so elementary, but if you think about it, how easy is it to keep someone the human that they are when it is so much easier to not consider them when their humanity has inconvenienced us or possibly even made our life more challenging or even more unbearable than before their humanity crossed our path and made it more treacherous to travel? [takes a breath]

I want to be human in the eyes of everyone I cross paths with. I want others to love me despite my failings and my slip ups and even (dare I say it?) my stark no nonsense say it like it is even if it hurts because I don't realize it hurt your feelings until after way of being.

Knowing I struggle with insensitivity on accident, I purposely evaluate situations that are going awry for any hint of me not realizing my part in it. In other words, I attempt sensitivity on purpose.

I have also concluded that not everyone cares about keeping friends as much as I do. Some of the very best of people are not fazed by a lost friend or two. I have learned to realize that as well and not apply anyone else's standards when in sticky situations.  Sometimes it helps and sometimes not so much. Therefore, I have a motto for this part of life:

I want to remember your humanity even if you won't remember mine.


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