Be That Somebody Part 4: Make it personal
One of the most important steps we can take to becoming that somebody is to learn to find the value in every single individual. We do this by making their problem our problem.
Today, we make it personal.
When we see the problems in the world, we are so accustomed to them, that they do nothing to move us. Life is life. It’s like the sky or the green grass. We barely notice because the problems are everywhere.
When we do notice, we shrug it off, wondering how we could actually do anything to change it. The problem is too great. The problem is too far away. The problem is too common.
We place all of these atrocities that we know to be problems but feel we can’t do anything about, into groups. We put people into categories.
But when we categorize a person, we do something worse to them than their problem has done. We strip them of their humanity.
- The Homeless.
- The Sick.
- The Orphaned.
- The Poor.
- The Widowed.
- The Unreached.
- The Elderly.
- The Insane.
These are not people. They are issues. But there are people who are dealing with these issues.
What Really Matters
We do this to insulate ourselves from the person. To avoid staring an individual in the eyes and telling them that we won’t help them.
When was the last time you took your kids to a pet store? You don’t. Why? The concept of homeless cats is easy to ignore, but once your children see how cute and cuddly they are in person, you will be buying one. How can you say no?
It works the same with people. It is much easier to shrug off a category than it is a person.
A catastrophe is easier to think about than a person who is devastated by losing their home. A socio-economic problem is easier for us to swallow, than someone who is starving despite the fact that we are surrounded by food. Someone’s parental circumstance is easier to consider than a child who is unwanted or unloved.
The somebodies of this world who have chosen to make a difference are the ones that stopped seeing problems and started seeing the people who are affected by the problems. They are the ones who broke through categories so that they could love.
Mother Teresa put it this way
I feel called to help individuals, to love each human being. I never think in terms of crowds in general but in terms of persons. Were I to think about crowds, I would never begin anything. It is the person that matters. I believe in person-to-person encounters.
Step 4: Make it Personal
Your homework assignment is to do just this. Stop looking at the world through categories and start seeing people who need your help.
I bet right now you are wondering how you could do this since you don’t come across those in need often. There it is again. You have already placed all of these people in a box.
Chances are many have needs but you don’t even realize it. At some point today you will bump into a person and will be tempted to categorize them. Don’t. Instead start a conversation. Ask them questions. Find who they are and what they are dealing with in their life.
Search for their humanity. And then offer to help.
When we let go of our categories and start to see the individual behind the problems, we are moved to start doing what it takes to help them.
Have you ever made it personal? What did you do and how did it change your perspective on a problem?
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