Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am not a ‘people’ person. As I navigate through traffic and checkout lines, go through the motions of day-to-day dealings with co-workers, more often than not I am smiling as I envision who is my Darwin Awards Candidate of the Day. Leaving my comfortable nest at home and going out in the world to deal with the human animal who is apparently not capable of reason or logic is painful at best.I have read study after study stressing how important human contact is to good physical and mental health and I do recognize that certain types of people – many that I care about – really do need regular human contact to thrive on both levels. Unfortunately I believe that the quality of much human interaction now days is not beneficial. Peer pressure, ego contests, mind games, competitive behavior between both friends and co-workers; those things do not, I believe, lead to healthy nurturing environments. While I like to believe that I personally do not need any of this community Kumbaya it is highly likely that I would also benefit from more human contact and interaction as well.
What to do? What do to? When someone prints something stupid and puts it on my desk my first reaction is ‘Did-you-even-read-this-you-moron?’ and when someone cuts off the gal in the wheelchair with their shopping cart I can only envision an in-store version of ‘Bully Beat Down’. But……….WHAT IF I WERE GOD?
If I were God (pick any religion)all of these humans, even candidates for the Darwin Awards, would all be my children. How would I treat the $##%!& at work who just did something incredibly stupid – that I have to fix – if he or she were my child. Be honest. I would probably try harder to help them understand how to do it right or better next time. The man who just said something hateful about a person of (pick an ethnicity, religion, race), I would want to understand why this man is unhappy and why he feels this way. If my child was insensitive, rude, or took advantage of a person that was disabled, smaller, or weaker than themselves I would want to spend more time with them to try to understand why they feel the need to do this. I would plead with my child to be more benevolent and compassionate towards those people who are less able than themselves - But if they did it a second time we might still be talking Bully-Beat-Down.
So I have practiced this ‘What If I Were God’ mental game for the last few days and I have been surprised that I have felt so much more patient with people in general. When I view each person I see as one of my children I cannot help but feel a certain amount of empathy no matter what their circumstance. Instead of becoming angry or resentful of things they are doing I find that I am thinking of ways that I could help them with their situation. It has been a very enlightening experience for me and I think I will learn more as I go along.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if we treated each person, no matter how good or bad, as one of our own children? What if you were God?