“This is a movement not a moment.”
I have that on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror along with other affirmations that remind me what I am capable of. I’d be lying if I said I approached my work towards social justice and equity each and every day with a sense of confidence and capability. On the contrary, many days I log in to my laptop with uncertainty, doubt, exhaustion and, some days, fear.
Yes, fear! There are so many others without a voice who remain unseen and unheard. I have to do this for them. I feel a sense of responsibility to get it right. But what is getting it right?
On one side of the issue are those who say we are not doing enough. On the other side are those saying we are doing too much. For as much as I would like to say let’s meet somewhere in the middle, neither side is willing to budge. Instead, each presumes to know the other’s heart, intentions and motives which leads to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, disenfranchisement and a host of other things.
It keeps us divided. It makes us paranoid. It keeps us preoccupied. It makes us less effective and productive. It weighs us down.
As corporations. As coworkers. As families. As humans.
Yes, as humans. This is worth repeating because somewhere along the way it seems we have forgotten we are all humans. At the end of the day, regardless of which side of the issue you are on, everyone is deserving of respect and dignity.
It seems as if the constant and easy access to grouping ourselves together with those who only agree with our points of view has created a distortion in our minds. It has created the notion that the determining factor of whether to like or accept another is whether they think the same as you. How silly is that?
No two people are alike and we all experience the world very differently. What if we kept that in mind?
What if we went old school and connected to build relationships and not for the likes, friends or followers?
Once we build the relationship, what if we communicated for the purposes of listening as much as or more than we talk?
As we are listening, what if we welcomed differing perspectives and beliefs with the intention of understanding?
Once we understand, what if we respected the right of others to hold differing beliefs and viewpoints?
If we absolutely cannot understand, what if we stop vilifying those people, places and things we do not understand?
What if we committed to being a little more human everyday?
As I move in to this next week of work, I’ll be adding that last question as a new sticky note to my bathroom mirror and workstation. To remind me that it is not my job to presume to know or judge another because they see the world differently than I do. My job is to show respect, dignity, understanding, grace and even empathy to everyone, especially those who have differing opinions.
That is getting it right.