"I can hate large groups of strangers, because the members of those groups who I happen to know are the rare exceptions."
In these 31 Days of October I am unpacking my learning from the book, Braving The Wilderness, by Brené Brown. She has been a favorite author for years. In this new publication she manages to build a sidewalk and curb in the wilderness where we can bravely tread.
Have you ever mistrusted, resented, or maligned a group of people portrayed on television or the internet? Well I must admit I have. From afar I can lump them all into a generalization and carry my skewed view. But moving closer I am forced to see a three-dimensional person with more similarities than differences.
Meet my husband of 43 years. He is eccentric to be sure. If you meet him you will hardly notice him because he always wears camouflage. NOT! You will notice him because you will wonder why he is dressed in camo and what does it represent? Is he a military man? Does he have a weird fascination for combat? Or, and here is the truth, did he find a very inexpensive source for men's wear that has swatches of green in interesting shapes. Ha! Ha!
We all make generalizations about each other and we even decide whether we could like them based on their appearance, their political leanings or their religious leanings. In the social climate today we feel we can criticize and shame each other because of what we represent.
But, have you ever moved in closer to someone you thought strange to find a warm, generous human being? My friend Jessica is such a person. She is very different from me and has many different beliefs but as I learned to trust her I found her to be comforting and stimulating.
In earlier posts I wrote about belonging and sorting into like minded groups to avoid vulnerability. In the research of Brené Brown a truth surfaced.
"As the world engages in what feels like a complete collapse of moral judgement and productive communication, the men and women I interviewed who had the strongest sense of true belonging stayed zoomed in. They didn't ignore what was happening in the world, nor did they stop advocating for their beliefs. They did however, commit to assessing their lives and forming their opinions of people based on their actual, in-person experiences."
The wilderness of human communication seems safer when we stay zoomed in and less quick to judge.
Click here to go back to my table of contents to see the other posts.