What happens when you label someone? Do you stop caring about their needs?
As I sat in a coffee shop last week, I overheard some folks talking about a group of people from a country outside of the United States. I wondered how they came to their conclusions. Their words were less than generous, and it struck me that no one in the group questioned the choice of labels.
What provokes people to label another group of people with such disdain?
When seeing someone in such a negative light, it proves difficult to recognize their full humanity.
Labels sometimes provide comfort and ease. “Labeling” may also build a connection among the labelers. Yet, someone generally pays the price for that ease and connection.
When viewing a person as the given label, it may also seem easier to not consider their needs.
Too often in conflict, someone thinks that only one person or group’s needs may be met at any given time. That is simply untrue.
Whether seeking appreciation, clarity, comfort, respect, security, or understanding, a way to meet everyone’s needs exists. It requires clarifying with compassion, losing the labels, and listening to learn.
When you let go of labels, will you see a human being with needs?