With the dramatic end to a colorful and divisive election, most of us realized that the world is not what it appears to be. Some have responded with retreat and anger, disbelief and shock. Some have celebrated in quiet disbelief, some have lamented in public outrage. To me, it’s a message that things are not as they appear, that people are not who we think they are, that feelings are deeper and closer than we once thought. It’s an invitation to double-down on understanding ourselves and the world we live in, the people we live with.
- Respecting people for who they are is fundamental to understanding them. Judging people based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion or anything else is not respecting them as individuals. There is no way to find clarity and understand the world we live in when these types of classifications happen.
- Proactively seek to understand the viewpoints of those who don’t think like you.
- Appreciate the time and energy it takes for someone not-like-you to share his/her viewpoint.
- Be curious about their reality – their background, world view and experiences are likely different than your own, in ways that are hard to imagine.
- Ask relevant and poignant questions and LISTEN at all levels to what is said and what is not said.
- Express compassion for the trials and challenges they describe.
- Share a connection through common experiences, common obstacles.
- Sit comfortably with the differences you have with others’ viewpoints, accepting without judgement.
- Concisely and clearly respond to questions without the ulterior motive of converting someone to your own point of view, without anger or judgement.
- Agree to disagree where appropriate, still embracing the thoughts above.
This Thanksgiving, I hope that we will all sit together as one, come together as one, grow together as one.