#4: Treat Humans with Humanity
Last week, I was talking with my trainer, Teddy, about politics. (I don't talk politics with many people, but Teddy and I have been through a lot together.) We weren't so much discussing particular views or ideology, but more basic philosophy. I told him that I was working hard in my life to surround myself with people who share my core values because people who don't exhaust me. And make me sad. And a little angry. Okay, a lot angry.
As we talked, Teddy pushed me (as he does) to explain myself further. Did I mean "values" in a religious sense? A political one? What values were important to me? How did I know someone shared those values? In between reps, I thought about what, exactly, I meant. Who ARE "my people"? What makes them different and how do they act/speak/behave? By the time our half-hour was up, I had a pretty good idea of what I was trying to say.
My people, the people I want to surround myself with, recognize the humanity of others.
People I love, and respect, and emulate, do not "other" those who are different from them. They work to understand those differences. They empathize. They give grace. They believe that we all need to live on this planet together and it is far easier to do that from a place of understanding and humanity than it is from a place of fear, and rage, and exclusion.
My people don't see life as a zero-sum game. They recognize that the pie is big enough for all of us, as long as none of us takes too much. That success doesn't have to come at the expense of someone else. You don't need to "crush" or "destroy" or "annihilate" others on your path to achievement. Life isn't a basketball game. Basketball is a basketball game.
The people I choose to be around are good stewards. They recognize that the companies they run, the planet they live on, the families they build, are precious and that you can't put your own selfish desires ahead of those around you. They believe in, understand, create, grow, and nurture community, whenever possible.
My people are kind. They are humble, generous, loving, thoughtful, open, non-judgmental, gracious humans working to make our society better. Those are all the things I strive to be, every day, so surrounding myself with people like that can only help me be better.