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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Other people

For a long time I've tended so be... well, a little churlish about humanity. To put it mildly. I mean, considering our species as a cancer or a virus might be described as misanthropic. But the tendency to be critical of humanity, given the environmental crisis, is not uncommon among green folk and animal lovers.

More widely, I am aware of a general feeling that other people are out to get you, that you can't leave anything unlocked or not screwed down EVER, that cars will be vandalised and houses robbed, that the world's dangerous and mainly because of other humans.

So often you hear comments like: Well, what can you expect?; That's just human nature!; You can't trust anyone these days; People are so stupid - you must always cater for the lowest common denominator; No one cares a damn and so on and so forth.

These kind of comments, despite my humanity-as-virus trope, actually offend me.

I think most people are trustworthy and do care; I think most people are friendly and honest; I think everybody has a story to tell that will humble me and that everyone has vulnerabilities and fears and pains. I think other people, just like me, expect to be 'well met'. I love this term... it makes me think of eyes meeting with a smile - the acknowledgement that 'I see you!'

If you assume that other people are horrible, how likely are you to meet them well? And if you don't meet them well, you will - you absolutely WILL - trigger their inner sense, so common, of not being good enough. And there you have it - a tinder box. You will get the unfriendly interaction you anticipated - because you set it up.

Every person deserves to be 'seen'. And, inside, every person knows it. Forget that, fail to see the other, and you are the sinner, not them.

It's not that I think people are perfect. Far from it: most of us are so wounded that we are brittle and ready to snap given half a chance. But, here's the thing: you can't take out your pain on others. You can't raise yourself up by belittling them. Whether stranger, colleague, family member, rival or friend, you should grant each one the foundational respect of seeing them as equally valuable as you.

So here's my resolve - as I recall the time I expressed my frustration and impatience to an IT guy and spoke to him in a dismissive way and the time I snapped at a colleague because I was stressed and the many times I've vented my bad feelings at my father - I will try to meet every person well in every interaction. I do not have to agree with them or like them or even avoid criticising them, but I will aim, always, to grant them that required respect. No, more, I will treat them as what they more than likely are: good enough exactly as they are and bearing their own burdens, challenges and difficulties. More often than not, I know, they will not just live up to that, but show that I have, once again, underestimated their generosity.

And here's the random video!

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