us vs them

There’s been a lot of us-ing and them-ing in the media lately. It’s the definition of political campaigns, but it can also seep into our thinking about others in our personal and professional lives. It’s the practice of diminishing (or sometimes vilifying) someone who holds a different view on issues that are important to us. Or, in even pettier ways, someone who likes things we don’t like and vice versa.

It’s unattractive, this us-ing and them-ing. It makes us into small people who are unable to see the validity in another’s perspective. It creates unnecessary barriers in the workplace. It’s like seeking to build an uglier, and more damaging, grown-up clique.

Here is some evidence that you may be drawing a line in the sand, creating an “us vs. them” culture. You think:

–       How could anyone like THAT?

–       They must be idiots/stupid/ignorant (or insert any other name calling option here.)

–       I couldn’t learn anything from them. Or, the flip side, I could teach them a thing or two.

–       Why in the world would they _______? (Do that, wear that, eat that, go there, listen to that…)

–       I’m glad I’m not like them.

–      Well, at least I don’t do that.

No one likes to see themselves as prideful. And we probably wouldn’t admit that sometimes we can feel superior. But, the symptoms above point to a heart and mind in need of a little humility and empathy.

In this polarizing political season, we will have plenty of opportunities to practice both.

Image via Amanda Greeley


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