by Dave Wine, President & CEO
I have mentioned several times about our brains being hardwired to look for dangers. One way we do this is through judgments and comparisons. Again, a lot of this is good – it helps us stay out of danger, creates good habits, makes us aware of what is helpful and unhelpful, etc. But as always, too much of a good thing isn’t helpful. And one of the most harmful ways this manifests is in our relationships with one another. Since our brains are hardwired to make these comparisons, we often lead with “what is wrong with others?” rather than “what is right with others?” Or, we focus on all the ways others are different than we feel ourselves to be, rather than what we have in common.
Then you throw in the news media (which loves to divide), social media, sports team allegiances, countries, states, towns, lifestyles, and all the other things that we believe makes us better or inferior to others, and we quickly gravitate to what divides us rather than what unites. We judge, evaluate, compare, and spend inordinate amounts of time looking for ways others are different. Here is my bold statement: Others are exactly like us! What I mean by that is we all have the same fears, the same insecurities, want the same love and affirmation - we essentially have the same mindsets, the same needs and wants. Our forms (bodies and personalities) are different, but our minds are very much alike. So as we become more mindful and pay attention to our own needs and wants, we can remember others feel those, too. We can begin to look for those things that unite us and join us together rather than focusing on our differences. Differences are mostly form differences. Our minds are joined in great commonality so again, as we experience things mindfully, we can remember that others experience those same things. That leads to appropriate empathy and ways to practice kindness among one another. That does not mean we need to agree with others. But we can disagree and at the same time make sure we are affirming the other person as an equal –- one who shares and needs the same affirmation and support that I want and need in my own life.
Mindfully remembering the things that unite us also helps us live out our MAX value of “believing the best about others first”.