March 3, 2021

When “Peopling” gets Tricky: How to handle Judgment & Arguments.


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Can we please stop fighting now? We all bleed red.

I recently wrote an article about narcissism that, judging by some of the Facebook comments, some found to be triggering.

I don’t believe everyone needs to agree with me, and I understand that by opening myself up in sharing my views, I am literally opening myself up to criticism and critique as well. 

Hence, I want to dive into the process of “belief” and kindly ask that we all consider possibly expanding our own.

It’s interesting to me that people feel the need to take issue with messages purely based on their own understanding. They fail to take into consideration motivations, or if all else fails, intentions.

People always seem to forget that tone is always implied by the reader. In fact, I can’t help but think of Poe’s Law. 

Wikipedia describes it as: 

“An adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied.” 

This term, first coined by Nathan Poe, essentially means that how we read whatever we read affects what we think we read—it can drastically change the message.

I bring this up because it stands to reason that what we believe is actually nothing more than a judgement call based on experience. But the experience is individualized, so this can make things tricky as we engage with others in both written and physical exchanges. 

I’ll get to that after I first highlight something else: 

Just because someone “appears” one way to us doesn’t mean that is the only “truth” or reality that exists.

Here’s a fun fact about me that you might not necessarily have been able to tell just based on my words: I’m Neurodivergent

That is to say, on the autism spectrum. It’s a spectrum for a reason, and that’s because it doesn’t manifest in the same ways in everyone.

I share this merely as an opportunity to speak about my particular “flavor” of Neurodivergence, if you will—how I apparently think so differently from others that I can be labeled neurodivergent in the first place (LOL).

Here’s where “peopling” can get tricky for me. I am a contrarian in nature (like literally down to my neuro-pathways). My mind somehow manages to see the dualities that occur for something to “exist” once observed by me.

Absolute statements can get me into hours of thinking because when something is presented, I then hyper-fixate how things can and can’t be true. To me, it is both at the same time—the human equivalent to Schrödinger’s cat.

Over the years, I’ve been given labels from “argumentative” to “robotic” to “so insensitive.” And because of my makeup, I can absolutely see the truth in these identifiers; I understand how they perceive it as such while also understanding exactly how it’s also so much more.

Maybe I’m being “too vulnerable” in sharing, but it hurts like hell to be so misunderstood. Ironically, I’m only trying to gain understanding when countering what I don’t understand by sharing what I do understand (as understand it). And that is in holding space for the multiple ways that any concept exists.

To understand how it can be “right” and “wrong” or “true” and “false”—and in countering a particular view, or stating a particular view—I’m only speaking on one side of a coin I’m aware has two (and edges).

Somehow, this tends to get lost in translation—it’s an “appearance” of opposition.

Think of a table. What did you think of? 

There are glass tables, wood tables, coffee tables, buffet tables; we could go on and on. 

Let’s say I told you to think of a cherry table. Did you think of a cherry-shaped table?

Maybe a table with a cherry print on the surface?

Did you think of cherrywood or oak with a cherry stain because you’ve never actually seen cherrywood? 

In this scenario, who has the authority to say who is more right? Is it me because I said think of a cherry table?

Was it my “creation” in the form of the question I posed?

Absolutely, but we could also say it’s actually not up to me to make that decision as well; I didn’t actually give you enough specifics to explain what I was even looking for. 

So how could I know if you thought of the “right” cherry table? What is the right cherry table? 

I hope that serves as a good example of the paradox.

No one is “wrong,” and no one is more right or correct. There is truth in all of it.

We like to believe that this doesn’t apply to bigger concepts like human rights or acts of aggression, but how doesn’t it?

If you’re still here, then I am so grateful. And, please don’t hate me when I summarize all of this for those who are thinking “tl;dr” (too long; didn’t read):

It’s not our judgements that are the problem; it’s the inability to move past them and remember that it’s literally all the same—only from a different vantage point.

Can we all stop fighting and try to look for similarities and middle ground instead? Indubitably, we all bleed red. 

Isn’t this a great place to start?

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