people-differentiated-small.pngEven though society likes to enforce rules and rights to balance out people in each other’s eyes, it hasn’t worked to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with the respect and love they each deserve. We judge people every day, we compare ourselves to others, others to others and others to whom we wish those others were. This happens in all areas of our lives and its encouraged constantly by everything around us, such as in the media and advertising we’re bombarded with.

All of these differences in belongings, status, income, age, fame and knowledge that everyone DOES have really doesn’t separate the things that everyone DOES have in common. And yes, everyone has basic needs in common and has longings for many of the same things hard wired into us. These show up in many different areas of our lives.

Workplace

Generation gaps, experience, income, and power all affect the way we interact with each other in the workplace. These things are in some ways positive and some ways negative, yet they always seem to generate some workplace tension between people. Examples can be seen every single day as we struggle to protect our own backs, impress others, avoid blame and gain some attention or appreciation in the hope of advancing our careers. Most of those items occur because of selfishness and if we really wanted to think about what people want, its only partly those things. Each of those attributes are really just a business name that if translated mean that people are looking to be respected, appreciated, and treated fairly. It doesn’t matter what the differences are between people in the workplace, if these things exist, then all people are the same. Why not ignore the things most people seem to compete for and simply respect others, appreciate them and treat them fairly.

Relationships

Well, when it comes to relationships, there are many dangers that seem to get in the way. These can be wanting or always trying to be right and someone else wrong. Often it’s seeing only what you can get out of a relationship and take from it. And then there are always belongings to get in the way, which involves not only personal belongings, but personal history, memories and experiences. Each of these are things that are typically protected out of fear from loosing control or becoming too vulnerable quickly, or even by suffering from esteem issues due to past experiences or preconceived thoughts about the other person.

If you acknowledge the fact that most relationships have these pressure points that often become the failing point, why not make them easy for the other person. Don’t argue for the sake of arguing, just accept that you don’t need to be right and quickly admit when you are wrong. Since you know that people are looking to see what they can get out of a relationship (aren’t we generally accustomed to that?), why not work to give more than you take or expect. Make the first move, offer to share or be vulnerable first since you know that’s what the other person is hoping for. Let them stay guarded, safe and protected, it will help them be more comfortable. Reach outside your comfort zone yourself, don’t expect the other person to do it first. If you do, it just slows down the relationship building and keeps barriers up that don’t need to be there.

So, examining what you know about relationships and turning all the things around that you hope for, helps you to see that it doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with, people are looking for friendship and love, time to spend with someone, comfort and security and someone to share experiences with. Since all those things seem to have these dangers involved that are generally guarded, take the first step and treat others in the relationship exactly like you have always wanted yourself.

Strangers

We constantly encounter new people, either by first meeting them or simply being in public with strangers. Unfortunately, these things lead us all to make automatic judgments based on stereotypes, prejudices and assumptions. These are typically based on physical attributes of others. Would you want someone to do that to you? Probably not, yet its not so easy to stop doing yourself. However, when I think about why people make these judgments, I think its entirely based on fearing the unknown and fearing similarities that we associate with bad experiences we’ve been taught or learned first hand. Put those things together and its a nasty recipe of wanting to stay in silence, independent and not engaging in what are often thought to be risky relationships where we might be hurt. If you look at the areas above though in the workplace and with existing relationships, all the same real desires are there in strangers as well, they are not different. They want the same things, hope and dream just like you, and have many of the same fears about you as you have of them. Eliminate this barrier and you may find that strangers are really not just strangers, but people.

So What?

Well, I believe all of this ties together in the truth that people are all similar, and if you respond to others in a way that you want yourself (yup, the Golden Rule), then many of the barriers that you otherwise re-enforce, don’t even exist in the first place. Everyone has some fears in these areas and looking to see how you can respond to people differently by stepping past some of these fears you have, will encourage others to do the same, open new opportunities in relationships and allow you to freely meet exceptional people you otherwise walk past every single day.



Prev: Learning to Handle Compliments
Next: A Guide to Mastering Your State of Mind