More than that…

A college friend would say that I was my worst me while watching Packer football. Living in Minnesota, most of my friends were not Packer fans, yet they also knew I was more than that.

How often do we tend to place each other in groups, whether by political differences, religious affiliation or something else, and make bold statements about who they are based upon that placement? The reality, whether we admit it or not, is that we all may belong to a number of groups (I am still part of the lawyer club, but also fit into the mediator, homeowner, woman, daughter, Packer fan labels, which still do not tell the full story).

Do labels actually create conflict where it might otherwise not exist? Let us say that a group provides the only place someone receives a sense of acceptance or belonging, and you have just labeled them “bad” because of it. Sensing your rejection, might the person gain an even deeper loyalty to the group?

What groups do you consider yourself part of? How does this impact how people see you? Does this seem fair? If you do not recognize someone from another group as a friend, I strongly encourage you to reach out and get to know someone who does not think exactly like you. Getting to know someone beyond a group identity creates peace by recognizing the common humanity that we share. Through this peace building, we may see that we are all so much more than any label might suggest.

A civil and family mediator, peace builder, and educator, Sherry Ann Bruckner lives in Alexandria, Minnesota. Visit brucknermediation.com/services to learn more or call Sherry at (320) 808-3212 for help to transform conflict and create peace.

As always, be gentle with you. Be gentle with all. Be the peace.