We live in a world that is constantly dividing people into categories; categories that put people against each other. The most prevailing category that has had detrimental effects on human relationships is ‘us vs. them’. This category has become a defining characteristic of human interactions. People with similar beliefs/ideas/views stick together and take positions against those who have different beliefs/ideas/views.
The ‘us vs. them’ approach has led human -beings to war, abuse and violence in history of man- kind. This approach has been practiced in many various levels; including international, national, social, personal and relational relationships for many ages. It feels as if this approach is part of the fabrication of our culture and nature. It is so embedded in our social cultural contexts that manifests itself in every interaction we make with one another.
The ‘us vs them’ approach has brought exclusion, separation, suffering and isolation to human relationships. It has made us experience further misery, resentment and trauma generations after generations.
I am wondering about moments of connection between opposite parties/groups when we felt and had experiences of deeper understanding of one another. Do you recall those moments in your life? I believe that experiences of connection and inclusion lead to further innovation, creativity and growth in human relationships.
Undoing the effects of the ‘us vs them’ approach on human beings requires awareness, reflection and collaboration. It needs our persistence and patience. Reconstructing human relationships, in any scale, needs our collective efforts to create and seize possibilities/ opportunities to become more inclusive and practice ‘Inclusion’ in relationships.
Our political, cultural, social views/ beliefs/ideas are to remain in our lives and they will be part of our daily conversational discourses. Our differences will get wider and further escalated when we apply the ‘us vs them’ approach in every situation of conflict.
Being open to ‘others’ and understanding ‘different ideas/views/ beliefs may help us become more engaged with one another in a more inclusive fashion. Making efforts in seeing matters from different angles/points of views may invite us to acknowledge contribution made and it would deepen our understanding of situations. Staying away from ‘the us vs them approach’ will allow us to hear each other differently and discover more common grounds with others.
Inclusion brings everyone together, invites everyone from all walks of life to join the conversation. Inclusion is The only way!
Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT