We Are All "People"
"Connection is the life-force generated between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can freely exchange thoughts without judgment; and when they gain strength and sustenance from their bond." – Brené Brown
Have you ever caught yourself saying, "People always..."? These sweeping statements often box others into narrow categories, usually based on our biases and not in the best light. This tendency stems from our past encounters, where a few negative experiences paint our view of many. In moments that echo these past toxic interactions, our instincts to protect ourselves kick in, leading us to either withdraw or react defensively. Ever felt like someone's actions are at your expense, whether to boost their ego or because you've unintentionally triggered something in them? This unknown can breed anxiety and bitterness, gradually turning you into a cautious, cynical person. But remember, you're not a doormat. Your relationships should always be mutually uplifting. So, how can we cultivate and cherish healthy connections?
Identifying the Triggers Within
As Jonathan McReynolds writes in his song "People," it's often easy to spot dysfunction in others while overlooking our own. When faced with difficult people, do we match their energy or distance ourselves? The key lies in self-awareness, enabling us to understand both ourselves and others more deeply. It's about acknowledging, assessing, and adjusting – a mantra for healthy interactions. Recognize what sets you off, and while it might take time to trace these triggers to their roots, don't let this be an excuse for reactive behavior. As my daughter says, "The baggage I sometimes carry keeps me from carrying yours." Your reaction and healing are your responsibilities.
Empowering Yourself: The Art of Discernment
Who controls your happiness? Learn to invest your expectations only in those whose actions have proven their worth. Maya Angelou advised, "When people show you who they are, believe them." Yes, people can change, but it's their consistent actions, not fleeting words, that count. You'll find peace amidst humanity's imperfections by distinguishing between your ministry, relationships, and resources. How is this achieved?
Deliverance through Acknowledgment and Adjustment
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of acknowledging, assessing, and adjusting. We find freedom from the effects of others by seeking divine guidance and intervention. It's crucial to understand that others' drama isn't about us. Sometimes, loving and praying from a distance is the kindest response to those who negatively impact us. Equally important is self-reflection: how do you come across in challenging times? Being self-aware and seeking forgiveness when we falter is vital. "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." – Ian Maclaren. This statement is a call to extend grace to others as graciously as it is given to us.
In conclusion, I pray that this reflection ignites in you the determination to work towards a state of well-being and wholeness, enhancing your capacity for grace and empathy towards others in their journey. Remember, at our core, WE ARE ALL PEOPLE!
Journal Prompts for Reflection
Common Humanity Reflection: Reflect on a moment when you felt a deep connection with someone very different from you. What did this interaction teach you about the universal aspects of human experience? How did it remind you that, despite our differences, we are all fundamentally people with similar needs and emotions?
Empathy Exploration: Think of a time when you initially judged or misunderstood someone, but later came to see their perspective more clearly. What changed your view? Write about how this experience reinforced the idea that everyone has their own struggles and stories, reminding you of our shared human condition.
Celebrating Diversity: Write about three individuals in your life who have significantly different backgrounds or life experiences from your own. How have these relationships enriched your understanding of the world and reinforced the concept that, although we are all unique, we share a common human bond?