Seeing the good in those I disagree with
As I reflect on the fallout from the General Election I am finding the need to remind myself of the importance of always looking to see the good in others — even if I can’t see it in their ideas and opinions.
It is a beautiful and freeing place to be able to see beauty, goodness, and humanity in all people — even politicians! — and to be able to critique ideas without the blinkering distraction of hate or bitterness about the person or people I disagree with.
There are, of course, some politicians with completely selfish motives, but most MP’s, from all political persuasians, are I am convinced genuine people who genuinely want to have a positive impact on our country.
There are bad eggs no doubt, but the vast majority aren’t. It doesn’t mean they’re beyond having some terrible ideas, but it does mean I have to avoid always assuming terrifying motives behind every policy idea I don’t agree with.
In my experience the world works so much better when I assume the best about people, take time to try and understand the world from the perspective of the other, and respect the other person as a person no matter what.
This doesn’t mean I can’t reject their ideas or what they stand for when I disagree vehemently — I should and I do — but I must find a way to do so without hate, bitterness, or lazily labelling someone or a group of people as evil, scum, moronic, leftie, socialist, or whatever.
Dehumanising those I disagree with ends up hurting me, not the other.
This can be hard to do, really hard sometimes. By I keep reminding myself to keeping doing this. I mustn’t allow myself to ever dehumanise a fellow human being with cheap, lazy labels. It also protects me from becoming blinkered by retreating into tribalism.
Tribalism sends me backwards and into a worldview that is defined and constrained by dualism. Everything then can only be understood in the framework of us or them, good or bad, in or out. I lose any ability to embrace nuance. I become a black and white fundamentalist. I can only see one way or another and lose my capacity to even fathom the perspective of someone from a different side or tribe.
And this doesn’t help me. This reduces me.
Hence my desire to make sure I always seek to see the good in others, take the time to truly understand where they come from, be slow to make judgement, and be quick to show grace.