Jummah Reflection: People First
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom & TGIF.
This week, I’ve been thinking a lot of about The Golden Rule. You know the one… it’s part of almost every faith tradition and it’s worded lots of different ways, but it all boils down to:
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
How many applications there are for this! I can’t think of a situation in which this simple, basic rule doesn’t drastically improve the chances of success and harmony. And when it’s applied unconditionally, it also helps us to listen to people even when we might initially find them difficult to tolerate or relate to.
We often dismiss people who hold different beliefs from our own as either ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’, rather than entertaining the idea that they may have a reason for how they’ve arrived at their views. In my own experience, I’ve noticed that you can easily determine a person’s deepest fears by examining the things to which they are most vehemently opposed.
When you look at it from this point of view, you realize that a lot of the rhetoric you see around politics, economics, religion, social issues, etc., is based in the fears people hold – consciously or unconsciously. Fear often manifests as anger.
Fear isn’t necessarily rational, but it is often based in personal experience. And that means that when you tell someone they are ‘stupid’ or ‘crazy’ for their deeply held views – you’re basically telling them that their experiences are false or don’t matter. And that’s precisely why they WON’T listen to you, no matter what you say or how many facts you present for your side of the argument.
Now, it may be true that their experiences have caused them to come to conclusions that are wrong because they aren’t looking at all the facts or because their fear has caused them to commit some other logical fallacy, BUT, you cannot dismiss the real, lived experiences of people and expect them to ever agree with you. It won’t work. EVER.
There is nothing that you have to say that will ever be more important than the person you’re trying to convey it to.
People First. All the time.