Monday, November 16, 2015

Never Say Never

Unfortunately we have all said on more than one occasion, “I would never…” As we rise above our fellow man with the buoyancy of our inflated egos, there may well be truth in that statement. You would never fall so far based on your sex, age, ethnicity, culture, wealth, intelligence, family history, health, education or the myriad of life experiences you have traveled. You wouldn’t, but perhaps another might and that’s where we are shortsighted as we stand atop the moral high ground.

I feel a surge of egos rise in defense as the concepts of that last paragraph float into the ethers of awareness. None among us likes to believe that we too might be capable of depraved acts if we were to walk in the shoes of the person we stand wagging our judgmental finger at. But if we’re honest with ourselves long enough, we would realize we could never completely grasp what took that individual to the place where they now stand condemned or criticized, most especially when looking through the lens of intentional shaming. It’s quite simple really, we could never know because we aren’t them and can never understand the cumulative effects of the multiple factors that come into play with whatever action they took. We can assume with an air of authority that we are all knowing, but of course you are fully aware of the clever saying – that only makes an ass out of you and me.

We may never fully know but we can wonder. Perhaps we might better serve ourselves and others if, instead of making grand and noble declarations, we asked questions with an open heart and curious mind. What must that person have endured before they came to that action or decision? What fearful belief or message was the impetus for what they just did? What did they hope to accomplish? What lessons can I learn?

Does it change what has come to pass? No, but neither does our judgment and shaming. Attempting to grasp an understanding of another and their choices is not about blind acceptance but is a simple act of compassion that holds more potential for healing in ourselves, others  and is most surely a key ingredient necessary for the world as a whole.  

I’m not asking you to deny your natural human reactions of outrage, pain and disbelief; what I am suggesting is that you not continue to dwell there and then hide behind the comforting shield of superiority because each one of us may have failed the same test if we were capable of understanding what it is like to be “them”. Surely you would want and do deserve the same the next time you stumble and fall.

Be well and happy.

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