I have a confession... I am a Walking Dead fan! I got hooked on the show during season two. A friend mentioned how good it was and I decided to waste a day binge watching it on Netflix. I got hooked. From then on it became a family event. Sunday evenings my kids, which were teenagers, and I would sit together and watch The Walking Dead. Our family time centered around zombies… I know, I know, kind of crazy, but I loved our time together.
Recently, one of the main characters, Carl Grimes, died. (Yes, I cried the whole episode. Loved that kid.) Carl’s dying wish was to find peace with all the communities and for them to live together, build a safe haven for all. In other words, to stop seeing other humans as objects and start treating them like people. This is an internal battle each character has gone through at some point in time on this show.
Even though we do not have zombies in our world, I still feel we struggle with the same dilemma. Whether we treat someone like a human or as an object.
Do you have someone in your life that you just don’t like? Someone who irritates you just when you hear their name. We get to a point with these people where we see them as objects. Someone who is not human, does not have feelings, does not deserve kind words, does not deserve the time of day. Do you have anyone in your life you treat this way?
Have you ever stopped to understand this person and their world? Do you know what is happening with them personally? Are they struggling a sick parent or friend or an illness in themselves? Are they struggling with overwhelming financial debt? Are they struggling with where their next meal is coming from? Have they been hurt by others and they don’t know how to let anyone in?
Do you know their story? Or are you just dismissing them as an object?
I heard a story from a friend, of a fellow co-worker who was not very engaged at work. This person came in late, was visibly tired during meetings, and was not meeting deadlines for projects. The co-worker typically kept to himself, but his performance had really dropped and the boss was ready to fire him. One day, she decided to ask how he was doing and to her surprise, he responded with “I’m doing well. I have cancer and have been through a month of chemo, but it’s starting to get easier. Doctor says we caught it early enough and the treatment should work. Thanks for asking.”
Someone was ready to let this person go because they were not seeing them as a human, only as an object one who wasn’t doing their job.
I encourage you to try to connect with someone this week. That person you have never taken the time to understand or that you have just blown off thinking they are a jerk. Try to reach out with a simple conversation. Maybe ask about their family or just pay them a compliment. It may be a progressive conversation over a week or two, but try to connect. Be kind. Be genuine.
On the Walking Dead show, they go through periods of time where they do not see people as human. They are objects. If they are useful, they let them live and keep them as part of their group. If they do not add value, they leave them behind or get rid of them.
In the story above, the guy was not looked at as human. He was an object who wasn’t doing his job, wasn’t performing his tasks, slacking off. They were going to let him go and just replace him without taking the time to see he was in a battle for his life.
Looking back on my life and/or career, there have been times where I wasn’t adding value or performing to the best of my ability because of outside situations. Someone who wouldn’t take the time to ask what’s happening, may just assume she’s not worthy of their time, she’s just not doing her job, she is not engaged, she needs to be let go or left behind.
Seeing others as human, with love and compassion, will open the door to new relationships and enrich your life. I’m not saying you will become BFFs with everyone, but you will start seeing people in a different light. You will have a new understanding of what is happening around you, you may find people you can help or share experiences with, and/or it may help you to appreciate your blessings.
Before you just turn your head and dismiss someone, ask yourself if you are seeing them as a human or an object. We are all put on this earth to learn and grow together, to help each other, and to be happy. Reach out to someone and see them as a human. Be kind. Be genuine. You may find something amazing.
Sending peace, love and joy to you my friend. Sam