This week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, we’d like you to consider a change of language that can have a profound effect on you and on others.
You see, language is the fundamental way in which we come to understand and relate to the world around us. When you change your language, you influence your ability to relate to others and to build powerful connections.
This week, we’d like you to play with your language. Every time you start to say “them” consider that they are also “us” instead.
As coaches and consultants, our area of expertise is working with and understanding people, and what we see over and over is that:
Everyone wants to be seen and heard.
People want to know that their experience is respected and understood by others.
With everything that’s coming at us daily, it can be difficult to pause long enough to really understand what life is like for others—to have empathy for their experience—especially when their experience is vastly different from our own.
Without that empathy, people move to US versus THEM.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us,
we don’t need to look too far back into history
to see the perils of US vs. THEM.
Remember that below the areas of disagreement, there are far more things we have in common with one another as humans.
Before party, before state, and before country, we are simply human: we love our children; we have the need for food, shelter, safety, and the opportunity to pursue meaningful work; we all laugh, and we all grieve.
Both US and THEM.
It’s critical as we move forward individually, in our work environments, and in our country, that we take a breath, pause, and remember that we’re all trying to claim our place in a world that is changing fast because belonging is a human need. For US and for THEM.
It no longer serves any of us to parse individuals into separate groups as if we don’t share more in common than we have in differences.
Let’s make a pledge this Martin Luther King Jr. Day to speak about humans as one.
We found a great example of an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day tradition in a Massachusetts kindergarten class where young students are learning about tolerance, fairness, and equality.
You can check out the video here: Kindergarten class keeps MLK Jr’s dream alive.