THIS, right here, is what it’s all about…
Someone from The Good Human Experiment private facebook group, shared these beautiful words yesterday…
“I was walking downtown and approached a group of people that I might usually judge and/or feel intimidated by. Instead of putting my head down and pushing my way through [or crossing the street to avoid them], I smiled and said hello and excuse me and made a comment about the weather. I received smiles and hellos and comments about the weather back [imagine that!] An awesome reminder about checking the stereotypes in my head, not making assumptions, and remembering that we are all human.”
I felt as though her observation and declaration was so inline with what the Good Human Experiment is all about, that I wanted to share it with you too!
Sadly, I know I’ve been guilty of avoiding or judging or feeling intimidated.
In the past year though, I’ve really tried to smile, say hello or, at the very least, make eye contact with everyone I come across.
For example, I used to hold my head down and stare at the sidewalk when passing a homeless person. Now, I try to make eye-contact and say hello. I think I was afraid that making eye-contact and acknowledging them meant I’d be an easy target to ask me for money [and so what? Big deal.] or that I’d feel guilty not giving them anything. But inside, I felt worse that I just walked past a living, breathing person and pretended they didn’t exist.
Ugh. Punch to the gut. I stopped doing that because it didn’t feel good to me anymore.
So yeah, sometimes I get asked for change. Most times though, I get a huge, appreciative, warm smile back. And sure, sometimes I get nothing.
Sometimes I give change, sometimes I give prepaid grocery gift cards, and sometimes I just give a smile or say hello.
I truly feel as though this is how we break down barriers. This is how we rebuild and move forward.
We can acknowledge one another by realizing stereotypes are a sweeping generalization – a distortion of what society believes we are and are not. Stereotypes put a label on entire groups of people that dictate how they act. It does not take into account that we’re all unique and contribute and behave in our own way.
Attempting to get past our stereotypes allows us to really see one another, so we can [hopefully] peacefully co-exist as humans sharing this planet together.
So, let’s all try it.
Today [and everyday] I encourage you to be more aware of your built-in stereotypes and try to move past them, if only to say hello and talk about the weather.