See People as People

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In a post I sent out a week ago, I received feedback saying that it’s naïve to think that terrorists are people. I’ve been told that they’re inhuman because they do barbaric things and that some people are humans and others, beneath animals.

Lots of judgements in those comments, but it’s ok. It’s important to share what we honestly think. Here’s the post for those who haven’t seen it:


Why is it important to see people as people? 

Because first, it’s accurate and second, today’s problems are a function of seeing people as objects or cogs in a wheel. When we see people as people, we can relate to their humanity, even when they’re not showing it in the moment. It’s like listening to what they’re telling you vs what they’re saying. 

The ways we think, feel and behave reflect our SKILL LEVELS. Everyone uses their highest skill levels. It’s rare that anyone who can speak French fluently, for example, speaks poorly. 

The same goes for terrorists. If they had other skills, they’d use them. If the US or French Governments had other skills, they’d use them. 

More food for thought about seeing people as people:

      • When you judge others, you limit your ability to see what people are telling you. You’re left seeing what you think, vs what’s there, which affects your decision making.
      • When you see yourself higher than others in a hierarchy, you give yourself liberties to do things you wouldn’t do if you saw people as equals. This is the basis of racism and every other form of discrimination. 
      • Every person is motivated by internal needs such as love/connection, certainty and significance. Carl Jung, an insightful psychologists, described light and dark sides of neutral characteristics. For ex, the dark side of being a rebel is rebelling without a cause, creating chaos; the light side is rebelling against systems that hurt people, creating systems that serve the greater good.
      • Phil Zimbardo, another insightful psychologist, reminds us that context influences the way we behave. A context that makes you feel disrespected, weak, powerless, hopeless, frustrated and angry will bring out different reactions than contexts that make you feel powerful, respected and hopeful. You know that to be true, don’t you?
      • When you accept that you would behave in altruistic and barbaric ways in certain situations, you then accept your own humanity and everyone else’s. Then, you stop spending time thinking about how “human” someone is and start focusing on solutions!

Seeing all people as people helps you feel respected, speak/treat people with respect and focus on what you and others can do to solve problems and create humane outcomes.

If we continue to see ourselves and others are objects or cogs in a wheel, without inherent value, we dehumanize ourselves and others, even if we delude ourselves to think that we’re better. This creates the results nobody wants.


[Image from Feepik]