Don’t “Label” Other People — They May Surprise You
Last week I posted something on social media in regard to a particular issue that means a great deal to me. Although it wasn't political, it is an issue that can tend to polarize people, although sometimes I wonder why exactly. However that's not the point of this post.
Although most of the feedback was generally good, with an occasional criticism of the article I posted along with my comments, there was one particular critic who began berating me. However, it wasn't about the actual post OR the issue I was posting about, for that matter.
He was angry at me because he assumed that because I feel the way I do about this ONE issue, that it meant I also had other views about OTHER issues that were in no way even mentioned in my post. I explained to him that posting an opinion on one issue doesn't necessarily reveal my position on another issue. He didn't receive what I was saying and continued the "crazy talk."
Now, I don't know this man--he is most likely a good guy generally. Perhaps he saw my post on a particularly difficult day. I get it. We all have them. Yet, despite my efforts to show him otherwise, he wholly and unequivocally labeled me and put me into a categorical box. End of story. Ah, well.
We all categorize people to some extent. None of us have enough time to read the "novel" that is each human being. Yet, many times when we assume we can read the book by its cover, we are often wrong. We have to do our best not to box people into categories, assume that if they think "A," well then they clearly think "B." People are not algebra equations. We are way more complex than that. This truth, though more complicated, can also lead to connections with people you would've never imagined could see the way you do on different subjects--even if you disagree on others.
Once you label me, you negate me.~ Soren Kierkegaard
The irony? In regard to the issue he'd brought up that I'd NOT posted about? I actually AGREE with him. Well, mostly. I didn't tell him that, though. Even if I hadn't agreed, his decision that evening to shoot verbal lasers at me certainly wasn't a good method for changing my mind.
But, that's a subject for another day. ;)