"We feel love.and we know pain. We feel hope and we know struggle.
Sounds so simple. But yet for some it so difficult. Sounds so easy. But yet for some is so hard. Seems like advice you would give a child in school. Get to know them. You might like them. Or - I am sure if you hung out with Johnny or Sue you would find you have so much in common.
I am sure everyone remembers a time in their childhood that a parent or teacher told you this. Amazingly what did you find? They were right! The person you thought you could NOT stand to be near is now your new best friend. WHY? Why does this happen?
This happens because we are ALL human! We all have the same needs and wants. When we stand back and keep a distance - we get away from the person and we take away their dignity, This is dehumanization. This is a process that takes time and makes a group of people less important, inferior and overall less human. In 'Less Than Human' by David Smith it explains how as humans we must go through this process of using language, actions and then pictures to create an enemy that is less human. This unfortunately can be seen over and over in many war situations and in slavery.
You might be saying to yourself right now these situations are not part of my world. This is not something I deal with but unfortunately you are wrong. There are many places of dehumanization that occur on a regular basis. The biggest place I think we have all seen it is in social media. This is a place where it is easy for the person typing away at their keyboard to dehumanize someone on the other end. It is easy for people to disconnect and disregard another person's dignity.
Brene Brown states that this line of dignity is one that is being crossed every single day by many groups of people every single day. WHY? Fear. We have become a society that is not able to have meaningful conversation and agree to disagree. There is a need to protect the "house" or the "system" - and this is done out of fear.
Fear creates individuals that worry about fitting in vs. having true belonging. It is time to have what is Brene Brown calls conflict transformation and not resolution. Have a desire to learn and lean in and get close up. This is when YOU realize that people are hard to hate close up!
These questions can be used for group discussion or for reflection in your own journal writing.
1. Have you been in a situation where a system was being protected? How did you feel in this situation? Was it easy to get sucked into the emotions? Were you able to voice your opinion? Did you feel worried about not being accepted by the group if you had a different opinion?
2. Have you ever made a statement about a group of people but then found yourself defending the one person that was not like the others in the group?
3. Do you agree with the statement? - "Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate."
4. The story of Viola Davis is an amazing story. It is a story of pain, fear, courage and vulnerability. Have you had a moment in your life where you decided that the past was not going to define you?
5. EVERY story matters. Your story matters. My story matters. Have you written down your story? Have you shared your story? If, not... what are you waiting for? EVERY story matters.