People these days are quick to blame others and make generalizations about others. Some of those thoughts about others I can’t say here, because this blog is not a place for hate. But people make assumptions and they say hateful things to the people to whom they are generalizing. Could you think back to a time when you were unfairly generalized? Or do you look back and see if you have been treating others poorly based on your own assumptions?
There is an old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes. You really can’t fully understand what a person is going through unless you are that person. If you are a country boy from a small town, you can’t expect to know what it’s like to grow up as a black child in the inner city anymore than you could know what it’s like to grow up in a third world country. You can, however try to imagine if you will. Have a thought experiment, imagine a class room and the teacher gives each of the children a ribbon of one or two colors. Blue and green, she tells them that the green ribbons are to be shunned. All of the blue ribbons gang up and terrorize the blue ribbons at recess. When all of the children come back in the teacher tells them now, the green ribbons have all of the power. How would this change things? Would this make you think about how you treat those you deem as lesser?
What makes you feel that these people are lesser than you are? Do you hold the belief that you are a blue ribbon and automatically better than the others? If you hold stereotypes for these people, why? Really stop and think about your reasoning; is it something that you learned, or is it because everyone around you thinks that way?
While it is improbable that you can fully experience what others are experiencing vicariously. You can however feel some compassion, be empathetic which is to do your best to understand where they are. Now there is this wonderful video based on a Ted Talk from Brene Brown. This video shows what empathy is and how it is different than sympathy. Now, if you have watched the video you have a better picture of what we have been talking about. So now, can you go out and be more empathetic? Make it a challenge and see how you do.