Who Are We Really Judging?
So, I want to stay focused this week on how illusory "image" is (last week's blog) and how easy it is to fool ourselves about who we are judging when we judge other people's behavior.
I ran across a related Medium article by Alex Mathers. Several lines spoke directly to me: "We live in a 'swipe left, discard it if it doesn't work' culture. One bad word uttered by another, and they are cast out without a moment's reflection."
Recently, Kevin Hart declined his dream job of hosting the 2019 Academy Awards. Suddenly his 2011 homophobic tweets were retweeted. Admittedly, I'm a fan of Hart's movies and stand up I've seen. Admittedly, I don't know him beyond his comedic persona.
I think there's something really important to reflect on - whether it's Hart or any other human.
How do we hold ourselves and others accountable while allowing for change and forgiveness?
The Mirage of Image
I am not what I think I am.
I am not what you think I am.
I am what I think you think I am.
Charles Cooley's century-old quote is a provocative reminder that we develop our sense of self and identity through our interactions with others. A few years before Cooley penned the looking glass theory, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about double-consciousness: "this sense of (the African American) always looking at one's self through the eyes of (white) others".* The looking glass theory has three steps that apply to all humans:
- We imagine how we appear to someone. Sometimes our imagination is correct, but it is frequently wrong as it is based on our assumptions.
- We imagine what judgments they make of us based on our appearance.
- We imagine how they feel about us, based on the judgments (we imagine are) made of us.
Right Here, Right Now
Gratitude happens in the present. Being thankful for our lives as they are, right now—not what we wish them to be—benefits us and our communities.
Starting a gratitude practice is free and as simple as remembering to brush your teeth. Jot down three things/people you are thankful for each day. Or simply thank a person with a note or a call as a daily practice. Physical, emotional, and mental health all improve when we "count your blessings," as grandmother used to say.
What derails gratitude?
What's Worth Loving For?
The negativity is exhausting.
We can't talk about news unless it's with someone who voted as we did. If we didn't vote, we've been shamed, making it less likely that we will again. Even weather is a dicey subject at work. Some friends are not so close. A couple family members call less frequently. Or not at all. You're shocked to learn someone you actually liked would stand with Kavanaugh or take a knee with Kaepernick.
Even agitated, angry or downright scared, we're burned out on war metaphors, divisive baiting, and a pervasive subtext – are you for us or against us? – the necessary fuel to power political vitriol on just about every medium channel.
Who is us, exactly?