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Future of Humanity
New Perspectives on Relating
What if creating communities that are supportive, restorative, connected, inclusive and open to our different lifestyles, opinions and ways of being impacts the communities around yours and changes the world? What if each person you connect with in your community or workplace is changed because of you? And what if they change the next person they come together with? What if they are better parents because of their community?
The Future of Humanity Requires Us To:
Understand that our relationships are there FOR us
Each relationship is there to reflect something for us about ourselves. They are a mirror and we need one another to see that which needs to be resolved, healed or integrated within us. Without one another we would not be able to see. So, our frustrations, irritations and triggers are fodder for our growth. Life is fodder for our growth.
Rather than simply labeling people’s behaviors as bad or good, we can develop a sensitivity to why people are behaving the way they are. We can realize that all people have their own baggage and traumas and rather than judge and shame them, we can support one another to come back to wholeness and healing. As we begin to understand trauma better, we can develop more compassion for ourselves and greater empathy for others. Often it’s hard to listen to others when we have our own pain, so the more we heal our pain, the better we can listen to others. This deeper understanding of ourselves, others and humanity in general is a critical component to improving our interactions with one another.
All people can learn how to be a better listener and how to be a supportive friend. We can also teach how to set and hold boundaries, self-love, and more.
Integrate restorative justice
There are far too many instances of younger people and other minor offenders who are punished when they should be educated and brought back to wholeness through restorative programs. An example is situations that are relational – bullying, harassment, sexual consent (not rape), etc. We increase the chances of people learning how to better relate by helping them to better understand the impact they had on the other, better understand what happened and learn how to be more sensitive and skillful in relating. Ideally there would be some informal restorative circles to support the community as well.
Look at our biases
Because of our own personal and familial experiences and the biases built into our culture, none of us can be sure we are seeing clearly. From racial and gender biases to more universal human biases that are built into the way we work, such as confirmation bias. Bias is a worthwhile area to explore in order to come together with more compassion. Bias is ever present. It’s our job to watch for it and not allow that
natural brain function to look for that which is “like me” to take over and “other” others.
See where you can courageously ask the question “I wonder what it’s like to be you?”
Replace call out culture with call in culture
We can come back to a positive bias, the assumption of positive intent. We can also acknowledge the impact and provide support for people. But life is messy and humans are imperfect. What I know about humans is that we get hurt pretty easily, even when we don’t act like it. If we truly care about making the world a better place, we wouldn’t intentionally hurt another even if we disagree with them. It’s not that different than a ___- ist at the core – it’s treating another inhumanely and insensitively because of the color of their skin color, age, religion, gender, etc. If we want to bring more equity, kindness and care for ALL humans, we need to stop perpetuating the cycle – and it starts with each of us. We must go back to caring for one another and not policing each other’s behaviors. Let’s call people back in – with compassion and curiosity, assuming positive intent.
Shift from identity politics to unity thinking
Rather than focus on our racial, gender, religious, cultural, financial and ability differences as categorizations that are the source of bias and inequity; how can we explore how we can expand that conversation. While continuing to push forward with policy and legal changes that address systemic structures that interfere with equality of opportunity, I also see that we can kick the ball down the field a bit and consider moving towards unity politics whereby we acknowledge that all humans have suffered and struggled and that no one experience is necessarily more significant than another. Some may have suffered more than others and some may continue to be impacted by systemic structures that we have in place. But seeing that all of us carry our own burdens and not “ranking pain” is important too. When we decide that one group of people (older white males for example) do not deserve to have their experience understood because they have been in power is doing exactly what marginalized groups had done to them. It’s “othering”, it’s stereotyping, it’s gaslighting. The way the Universe works is that if we perpetrate onto others that which we were victims of, we will perpetuate the energy. We must rise above this pattern. Two wrongs do not make a right. This does not mean that we don’t still need to work toward equality in areas where we have not yet achieved it. This does not mean that people don’t still need to be educated about where some groups are still discriminated against, harmed or otherwise oppressed (for example, Muslim women in other countries and people living in poverty). Coming together is the answer.
Prioritize and elevate open conversation
Support free speech and encourage “cross-side” compassion. While some speech can hurt, we must develop resilience and turn to our support systems to help us navigate our feelings and reactions. Free speech is a cornerstone to our democracy and the ability to discuss openly the current cultural and social issues in a way where all voices are heard is critically important if we want to make progress to solve our collective problems. As we heal our traumas, people will naturally be less inclined to hurt others with their words. Free speech will feel safer as people feel less defensive and protective and more curious and compassionate. For all of history, those who want to make the world a better place have to endure a lot more pushback, anger, reactions, negativity and other difficult interactions. That’s the price of being a trailblazer. Personally, I would love to see us set some ground rules for HOW we interact with one another. I don’t mean laws, but I think there is some value in discussing what types of behaviors are most conducive to a respectful and open conversation. One really important cornerstone is to discuss and disagree about ideas and to not make it personal – no personal attacks, put downs or other childish banter. With that said, we do need to also hold each other accountable for telling the truth.
Seek viewpoint diversity
We all suffer from confirmation bias so in order to really better understand a particular idea, issue or subject, we must consciously seek out perspectives, viewpoints and opinions that challenge our beliefs. While we all need to learn how to do this together, one strategy for this is that when we read or otherwise consume content that we feel that we wholeheartedly agree with, Google an article that is in some way opposed. We also have a natural inclination to settle on over-simplifications and solutions that are not large enough to hold the complexity of the problem. This requires us to go out of our way to keep expanding our thinking. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but pushing our edges results in better solutions, greater connection with others and a more flexible mind. I’ve found that listening to podcasts has helped me expand my mind.
Move away from zero-sum game thinking to generative thinking
As a community, we thrive when we are in it together, supporting one another. This way of being in our homes and communities will spill over to the broader world. Assume positive intent and collaborate to find a way that is best for most. There is a way we can honor ourselves and honor the other. It’s a shift away from the idea that there are winners and losers, one is right and one is wrong TO the idea that we can come to shared understanding. In groups, when we honor that each of us has a contribution, create an environment for everyone to share and be heard and yet we all know we won’t always do what everyone wants to be done the way they want it to be done – we can create a space to listen and capture new ideas, perhaps create something better than what we can create on our own. This means that instead of deciding to do this or that and one loses and one wins, we instead consider many perspectives, examine possible impacts and consequences, look at the bigger picture, include many voices, explore constraints and ultimately find solutions that will be less likely to cause harm and more likely to get the desired result.
Embrace a more integral view of cultural progress
There is a way we can see the value in many ideas. We can transcend (grow/progress) and include (not leave good/valuable/important things behind). An example may be around the values that come out of a more conservative way of thinking. Integrating values and a moral compass as we move forward could be useful. Or when we look at the ideas of equality of opportunity (freedom) or equality of outcomes (equality) – it may not be either/or. There may be some benefit to seeing the value in both and seeing where equality of opportunity might be optimal, but then to also see where specific circumstances call for more support and a greater focus around how to create equality of outcome. Rather than deciding one is superior and the other must be rejected.
We must look into the past and see how communities can be supportive and consciously integrate more supportive elements into our communities. We need communities that are in support of each individual prioritizing integrity, authenticity and consciousness. We must bond together on our shared desire to be our most authentic selves and honor our differences and look for our similarities. Being the same/shared belief systems must no longer be the criteria for belonging. We must look more deeply at our essence and who we are.
We must make our families a priority. We must support parents and families as a community.
The way forward
Impact the future of humanity
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