Just Like me
“Realizing that the other person is also just like me is the basis on which you can develop compassion, not only towards those around you but also towards your enemy. Normally, when we think about our enemy, we think about harming him. Instead, try to remember that the enemy is also a human being, just like me.”
- HH the Dalai Lama
I’m sure there is some evolutionary reason that we make ourselves different from other people. I’m sure in our hunter-gatherer days, it increased our survival rate to “other” the people at the next fire circle ~ to say they are different than I am and in some way not as good.
One way metta (loving kindness) helps me is to remind me that everybody, every single person and being, at an essential level is just like me. Everybody wants to be happy ~ just like me. Everybody wants to avoid suffering ~ just like me. Everybody is doing their best ~ just like me.
Even if they cause me inconvenience ~ they are just like me.
Even if they drive a car that I don’t approve of ~ they are just like me.
Even if they don’t do what I think they should do ~ they are just like me.
Even if they believe in things I don’t believe in ~ they are just like me.
Even if they break the law and cause harm ~ they are just like me.
Especially when I feel myself bristle with irritation or indignation or anger, it helps me to silently note that this irritating, infuriating person is just like me. It doesn’t mean I approve of them or forgive them or even like them. But reminding myself that they are “just like me” preserves their humanity and mine.
A conversation about repair
I’ve been particularly interested in understanding and applying the teachings we are working with around compassion, to the current cultural movement. In particular, related to understanding what healing might look like in a post #metoo world.
Just a heads up, this article is not oriented from a spiritual perspective, but perhaps you can overlay some of what we are working with to round out your own understanding.
written by Katie McDonough
It has been a year, or in some cases less, but they are back: Louis CK, Jian Ghomeshi, John Hockenberry, and other men who left their jobs or retreated from public view following allegations (and outright admissions) of sexual abuse and harassment.
And as though they are all following a version of the same script, these men have refused to honestly account for the harm they caused or simply erased it altogether. Louis CK described the professional fallout of his predation as being “off for a while” because “everyone needs a break.” Hockenberry, who was forced to resign after multiple women of color accused him of harassment and bullying behavior, called the last year “exile.” Ghomeshi framed the public response to allegations that he physically abused multiple women as a grotesque example of internet mob culture and groupthink.
What these Condemned Men narratives leave out are the people they hurt, and what that harm has meant for their victims’ personal and professional lives. (In fact, Hockenberry and Ghomeshi obscure and minimize their own behaviors throughout their respective redemption pieces, as though there was really no harm, only misunderstanding, to begin with.) While they may differ in tone and approach—Hockenberry rageful, Ghomeshi clinical, Louis CK hapless—they each share a profound lack of curiosity or interest in what accounting for their behavior might look like, or what making actual amends might require.
But models of repair do exist, and people have spent decades practicing them. So I reached out to Alisa Bierria, whose work with the women of color-led grassroots organizing project Communities Against Rape and Abuse was my first introduction to the principles of community accountability, to talk about harm, consequence, and repair. Bierra is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and founder and coordinator of the Feminist Anti-Carceral Policy & Research Initiative. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
* Glaze painting using one colour on entire canvas
* Bring back skin/texture on main image, by using a small amount of chosen paint colour. Dry-brush for smooth texture, or use brush that creates the texture that you are seeking to create i.e., fur, feathers, etc.
* Begin to bring chosen colours into the different areas/shapes in your painting using the most appropriate techniques for your image. Consider using thicker amounts of paint and multiple techniques to add interest and pop to your painting. i.e., words, patterns, etc.