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Where’s the Common Humanity?
Posted July 3rd, 2015 by Carroll King Schuller
Where’s the common humanity? In our everyday lives we sometimes get so worked up about small things that we can forget to engage with people. We explain how we don’t like someone else or can’t get along with so-and-so because, “They’re this,” or, “They’re that.”
We can make it all about how someone else is “something” different from us, but it’s important to remember that human beings are just human. No one is perfect, and, instead of withdrawing from others, we can attempt to be more kind and understanding when confronted with failings or differences. We are a collective society of humans and have the privilege to act accordingly.
Barbara Straunch, Science and Health Editor at the New York Times and author, recently passed away. In Straunch’s obituary Molly Gordy, a colleague and former Newsday reporter, is quoted as saying “She sent me to interview a Salvadoran refugee family for an immigration series, and when I came back saying they were boring, she told me to pack a suitcase and move in with them and not leave until I was in love.” Gordy ended up staying with the family for five days. This statement really struck me. Gordy made her assignment about herself and not the family she was supposed to be portraying; she made it about them being different from her. As a community, we can learn to appreciate these differences. Just because someone is unlike you doesn’t mean we should discount their value.
While everyone is entitled to their opinions, we tend to make ourselves isolated by thinking in this manner. It might be a lofty goal, but I would hope that everyone could fall in love with each other and consider our common humanity before distancing ourselves from someone or something who is out of our normal experiences.
I once had a man I went on a date with tell me that he couldn’t date me because of my political party, which I have never communicated to anyone. He had identified himself as not being a part of my group and immediately closed off the possibility of a relationship, whether it be romantic or not. So, let’s try to embrace our common humanity through love of our fellow man. Feelings of inadequacy and disappointment are universal, but this unites us and can help us to build a bridge to a common understanding and love; this is my wish for all of us.