How I (Try to) Deal With People
Note: I originally wrote this in 2016 on my main blog. I'm re-posting it here because it fits the theme of this site, and it feels relevant to the world today.
In church we teach our kids a simple song that has taken on much more significance for me as I've grown older. It's very short:
Jesus said love ev'ryone; Treat them kindly, too. When your heart is filled with love, Others will love you. — Moiselle Renstrom 1889-1956
What I love about this song is that it's not at all vague about how you should treat people. Let's try a few questions. For example, should I love people who have different political views?
Jesus said love ev'ryone;
But surely not people who think things that I think are good are bad, or people who think that things I think are bad are good!
Okay but what about...
Okay, I should love ev'ryone..er, everyone. But, that can mean, like, “tough love”, right? Like, “love the sinner hate the sin”, right? Scare 'em straight.
treat them kindly, too.
ah, okay, true. No scaring people straight. Just love everyone and treat them kindly. Like, actually kindly.
But, I mean, that can't actually work, right? the world will just stomp me into the ground.
When your heart is filled with love Others will love you.
...Naaaaaaah, it can't be that simple.
Winning friends begins with friendliness. —Dale Carnegie
Wait, what are you doing here, Dale Carnegie?
The legendary French aviation pioneer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.” —Dale Carnegie, emphasis mine
And you brought a friend? Okay, if a primary song, Dale Carnegie and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry all agree, I guess I can give it a shot.
So this is how I try to deal with people. I'm not perfect at it, of course I'm not. But I'm happier now than I was when I was trying to keep the world at arm's length through cynicism and sarcasm.