Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Other Guy

One trick that has proven useful in treating other human beings with love and respect even when it isn't easy has been remembering that "the other guy" is a person just like me. I first though of this when I was eighteen years old and a Brownie Girl Scout leader for a group of first grade girls. There was one girl in the troop who just rubbed me the wrong way. I suppose now I would say that her personality and my personality just didn't mesh well. I found her irritating. The truth is so did the other girls. She was somewhat of an outcast in the troop. No one was outright mean to her, but to any observer, it would have been obvious that she was not well liked.

This bothered me, and I thought on it a lot. The thing that really struck me was that she was really no different than me. I knew that she had thoughts and feelings that were probably similar to mine. She could be hurt. She could be confused. She could be happy and sad, and could both give and receive love. I decided that at the next meeting I would think about her personhood while interacting with her.

As I led the meeting with this new perception, I found myself feeling an intense love for this slightly irritating girl who didn't quite fit in. It was a wonderful sensation. I could see so much more of who she was and found myself reaching a new place of understanding for both her whole self and her behavior.

She never went on to become popular in that troop that year, but I know that she had a fun, meaningful year due primarily to my attention and empathy. All it took was a small change of my mindset to make a difference in one girl's life.

Now, whenever I find it necessary to interact with someone who I don't like or am very different from or feel prejudiced against, I remind myself that they are a person just like me. That is the foundation of loving each individual for who they are. Give it a try! You might find yourself not only helping others, but feeling better about yourself too!

1 comment:

coolingstar9 said...

Jacqueline Parks,
Yes, we should do our best to interact with those we feel that they are not the same as us. We should love them as well as they have the same feeling and aspiration also.
Nice post, thanks for sharing.
Happy blogging and have the nice day.