Life changes drastically when we start to see the humanity in others. This requires adopting an outward mindset and looking past ourselves, past our own wants, needs, and biases. By doing so, you are then able to actively engage with others in a way that, perhaps, you never thought possible. You might ask yourself where the benefit lies for you in doing so. That particular question is an example of an inward mindset. “Why should I care about other people? What can they do for me? What will I get out of looking for the humanity in other people?” Perhaps these questions are ones plaguing your mind as you begin this article. The answer is fairly simple. It isn’t all about you.
It isn’t all about you
This might be a hard truth to swallow, but it’s reality. There are other people in the world, all with their own desires, dreams, and lives. Living inwardly, with blinders on that keep you from seeing these aspects of other people, is not only painfully unhealthy, it also keeps you from living your own life to the fullest. Life is best lived among other people. It was Desmond Tutu who said “All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”
Learn how to embrace humanity
If you have decided to embrace your own humanity by seeing the humanity in others, you next need to know tactics on how to embrace that humanity. Perhaps the first step is to stop seeing people as objects for us to use. By placing people into their proper category: people, and not that of inanimate objects, you are inherently acknowledging their inalienable rights as human beings. Some of these rights include basic respect, freedom, and happiness. Assuming that all people deserve these things, and not just you and your own inner circle, is essential to moving forward with an outward mindset.
Ask people to hear their story
One way that you can work to see the humanity in other people is to ask them their story. Everyone comes from somewhere, and our pasts do a great deal to shape how we act and react in our present. Our pasts help to build who we are as people in the present moment. Don’t go digging for trauma, but rather take the time to ask someone where they’re from, perhaps ask them their favorite memory or for a funny story from their childhood. Show the other person that you acknowledge that they have their own life and experiences.
Engage in conversation
Once you learn a little more about the person with whom you are conversing, you should work to engage them on topics that interest them outside of the workplace. Are they a fan of cars, sports, or books? Do you have a shared interest with them that you can discuss either in passing or at length? By taking the time to talk to someone about things that are important to them, you will make them feel seen and acknowledged. It will help you to build a rapport, and perhaps even a friendship, with the other person to engage them on common ground.
Don’t jump to conclusions
Avoid jumping to conclusions about other people based on just a few interactions. As stated above, everyone has their own story, the places that they came from, the origins of their lives. It is impossible to know everything about everyone as soon as you meet them. This extends to everyone, including the people that cut you off in traffic. Take a moment to be empathetic. You don’t know what their circumstances are, why they might be in such a hurry. They might not even have intended to cut you off. Maybe they’re on their way to a hospital for some reason. Even if you might never see that particular person again, cursing at them isn’t going to do anybody any good in the slightest. Take a moment, breathe, and be mindful.
See humanity in all people
It’s important to note that seeing the humanity in others doesn’t apply only to those you might wish to extend this humanity to. When you work to see the humanity in other people, you must work to see the humanity in all people. Even if you don’t particularly like a person that you encounter or someone that you work with, it’s essential not to let this fact detract from your perception of their humanity. They do not deserve to be reduced to objects in your mind simply because you do not care for them. Perhaps this is the most difficult struggle one will face when learning to accept the humanity of all people.
Stop using people as vehicles to your own success
In the workplace, once you learn to see the humanity in others, you can learn how to stop using them as vehicles to your own success. People are not objects to be used or that exist to be at your disposal when you need them. Just as you have your own duties, tasks, and goals, your coworkers and your subordinates all have the same. This is a fact that you must respect if you are to see other people as just that: people. This might be difficult if you are accustomed to working this way, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors by treating others as vehicles. If anything, you are most likely severely damaging your reputation within the company and among those in your life, both inside and outside the workplace.
Ask what you can do for others
One way to stop using people as vehicles is to change your mindset, asking what you can do for others instead of what others can do for you. Go out of your way every once in a while to see what you can do to lighten someone else’s burden. Do that project that you have been avoiding which someone else has been waiting on you to complete. Allow yourself to help others. You will find that doing so drastically betters your working relationship with your colleagues and superiors. The simple task of asking what can be done to lighten the load isn’t one that should be underestimated. Even asking the question can help raise your esteem in someone else’s eyes.
Whether it be inside or outside of the workplace, you can drastically change your way of life by learning how to see the humanity in other people. A noble endeavor, doing so will improve your interpersonal relationships in every aspect of your life. The tips listed above are not exhaustive by any means, and you may find another tactic that works better for you. This is perfectly fine. The fact that you are being mindful of your personal mindset and choosing to look outward instead of inward is what is important. Take this challenge on and see how your world will change.
If you want to become a better leader
Many people strive to be a better leader, but some are more committed. If you are more committed to being a leader, you can sign up for a free consultation with a leadership coach to see if working one-on-one is a good next step for you.
A leadership coach can help you build the necessary skills to lead people down a path to success. Contact us for a free consultation to see if a leadership coach is right for you.