Stop Worshiping People
It’s their intentions and actions that deserve our appreciation.
“You are what you do.” [C. G. Jung]
We are the choices that we make. Every morning we get up and decide how to spend the rest of our lives. We choose what to study, which career paths we pursue, the places we live. When it comes to other people in our lives, however, why can’t we apply the same pragmatic judgment standards? It appears that most of the times we’re simply biased.
The Worship Bias
There’s this political party. Your parents and grand-grandparents have always voted for it. Right now, however, that party is led by someone who’s above his head in corruption investigations and sexual harassment allegations. Do you keep voting for them?
Here’s another example: there’s this technology company led by this charismatic CEO. Inspired by her keynotes, you’ve been using the company’s products for decades. For some years now, however, their products aren’t that innovative or suit your needs anymore. Do you still buy them?
We tend to romanticize people and turn them into unicorns in our minds. The thing is that unicorns are no more than weird horses with a horn.
By blindly admiring them instead of seeing them for what they are and continuously re-evaluating them, we endow them with too much power even when their actions or intentions aren’t worth it.
The Prejudice Bias
Here’s the other side of this coin: there’s this teenager who tries to apply for a vacancy you wish to fill. By looking at her criminal record history, you see that she’s been in jail. What you probably don’t know is that she didn’t have an easy childhood. She’s been charged with shoplifting two years ago and ended up doing time in a youth prison as a result. Now she’s out and looking for a decent job to save money and get a college degree which no one in her family has even dreamt of getting. Will you invite her to an interview?
Bias is a Comfort Zone
Biases make it easy for us — they make us think less. When we stop thinking -our judgement ability is damaged, our arguments in discussions become weak. Next thing we know — our whole reality turns into one big monster which we will try to avoid from now on. We then successfully avoid it by following our new and shiny set of automatic, bias-based rules. Rules we will never question again. Eventually, exhausted by this vast overhead, our decision-making process becomes ineffective, our problem-solving skills are shrunk down to none, and so is our ability to ever progress and evolve — yay! 🤦🏻♂️
The truth is, there’s nothing exciting happening in our comfort zones.
Constant Questioning is Growth
People go through life-changing experiences. When dealing with people — we must face the fact that they change their beliefs and behavior all the time.
That’s why we should judge every intention and action on its own, regardless of the person associated with it.
By doing so, we prevent the worshiping and prejudice bias temptations. Possible outcomes might just change our relationships forever:
A person who we never agreed with before might have just done the right thing. When it’s the actions we’re looking at — we sure will be able to appreciate it, encourage them by providing positive feedback. At this point we might decide to introduce them into our close circle and who knows — even contribute to a more significant change in that person.
On the other hand, it could be a beloved person who we used to love for her/his actions and intentions in the past, but has changed since, or just acted differently this time. If our judgement is sharp and action-focused, we will again face the opportunity to communicate our feedback and allow that person to make that mistake, easily fix it, and grow. We might also discover that our values are no longer aligned with that person. In such case, the decision to take a step back or end the relationship entirely should be a little less hard to do.
By focusing on intentions and actions and constantly re-evaluating them, we make sure that only those people who match our values get to join our closest circles and stay there.
We Keep Changing Too
By judging actions and not people we also get to constantly question and challenge our own selves. And if we ever change our beliefs or values, we will still be able to maintain the sharpness and judge our reality for what it is. We’ll be able to keep the compass in the direction which is right for us and make sure that we follow it at all times.