We’ve all experienced learning simple concepts that just blew us away when we considered the impact and magnitude they could have if implemented by each of us. I learned once such concept recently and decided to “marry it” to another. I’m sharing the first part in this post. Look for the second part, soon.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ve encountered me speaking or writing about how much we label one another and ourselves, in society today. We proclaim we are this...white, black, female, male, wife, mother, Catholic, Hindu, you get the picture. All by ourselves we could place sticky note after sticky note on ourselves telling the world about who we think we are.
Equally, the world, and everyone you encounter in it, happily sticks labels on you as well. Many, if given the opportunity, you would never allow to be placed, much less define who you are. A friend and I were speaking about this subject recently, maybe you can relate to the following example.
You are new to a workplace or position and another co-worker in an effort to “fill you in”, shares the labels they’ve stuck to this person, a person you’ve yet to know. The labels may be what we generally think of as flattering, such as nice, hard-working, kind etc. Unfortunately, too often they are of a different nature, things like lazy, unmotivated, slacker, short tempered etc. And I’m being nice, trust me, my friend and I discussed words like “liar” and “manipulator.”
Can I say that that is one of the nastiest things you can do to a fellow human being? I mean here two people are, each believing they possess a “clean slate.” You have it and they have it. Fresh starts all the way around! Enter the person who “fills you in.”
Now, instead of seeing Marsha one of the admins in your new department, you see the liar, Marsha and the manipulator, Marsha. You are now going to possess a heightened sense of awareness around Marsha not because you came to these conclusions on your own but because these labels were given before Marsha uttered a syllable. Fair? Not even close.
Turn that story around a bit. It’s you who are moving departments within the company and upon your arrival, some “labels” about the new supervisor have already adhered to the minds of your staff. You are a “difficult” and “hard to please.” Nice. So do you think you’ve been given a “clean slate” with your new team? No way.
We put others down in order to make ourselves look or feel better. That’s it, a simple concept that has huge ramifications. Since learning this concept, I am making myself more aware of when I do this to people, when I am looking to supposedly “warn” others about someone or just label them at all.
I think each of us deserves the opportunity to present ourselves to one another “unscathed.”
To develop and experience our own sense of the traits we admire in a person, the traits we find neutral and the ones we don’t desire as much. Don’t you?
I hope you find this idea enlightening so as you move through the world you choose to be one who is dedicated to bringing us together instead of being yet another force dedicated to tearing us apart.