Have you ever considered how we formulate ideas of people? Whether race, culture, or religion, we are each presented with information about a group of people. From that viewpoint our entire perspective is then created and often times cemented.
Despite not always having a complete 360-degree view, we make vast assumptions, create personal truths, and assign entire populations with specific traits, regardless of its validity.
- Are homeless
- Are a different race than you
- Are a different religion than you
- Live in a different country or on another continent
- Speak another language
- Cover their faces with burkas
- The list goes on and on
You see, you can never know the WHOLE story about someone. It’s impossible. Even in the simplest of encounters, we cannot make assumptions about people.
I had a first-hand experience of this “story-telling” example just last month when I was traveling home from Mexico with my 1.5 year old son and husband. I boarded the plane ahead of them, as they had been flagged for extra screening since my son is still considered a lap-child.
I got on the plane carrying all of our luggage so my husband just had to worry about our son. That included a carry-on bag with wheels, a backpack, and another large tote bag. This of course is more than the 2-person limit that one person gets, but not over the limit of our 3-person family.
As the passengers were boarding the plane, I was stopped in the aisle waiting for people to get their luggage put away so we could continue boarding. In that moment, the women in the aisle seat next to me turned to her husband, snuffed and said, “Look at how many bags this woman is bringing on!” Obviously disgusted.
I immediately said to the woman, “Uh… My husband and son are behind me.” I wanted her to know that she was relating to me from this singular point-of-few.
In a MOMENT she created a story about me—that I was obviously trying to get-one-over on everyone and bringing on more bags than I was allowed. It just reminded me of how quickly we judge one another.
We creates stories about people and their behavior, yet we really don’t know the whole story. How could we possibly know exactly what’s going on for someone else?
Which leads me to this Ted talk that I came across a few weeks ago. It was so powerful, I’ve been thinking about it and sharing about it ever since. Now, I wanted to share it with you. It’s well worth every minute. It’s all about the DANGERS OF A SINGULAR STORY!
Watch it and let me know what you think in the comments below. Then, think about what stories you’ve created about people? How are those stories impacting you from connecting to people who are different than you?