Have you ever read an article in the newspaper about the CEO of a company that is being charged with illegal activity like violating environmental laws and thought, "I would never do that."? Or seen an obese person at an all-you-can-eat restaurant and thought, "I would never let my weight get that out of control."?
This type of judgement suggests that you are different that the person who sparked your thought. You wouldn't purposefully damage the environment because you respect the earth. You are different than that CEO. If you were in his shoes, you'd act differently.
But research says that isn't the case at all. And it makes sense if you stop and consider. I would totally resort to stealing if it was the only way I saw to feed my children. If I had no other way to express my rage and frustration at the inequality in our society, I might spray paint a message on the wall of an old building. If being an honest CEO meant that my company went bankrupt and all my employees ended up losing their jobs, I might be willing to overlook the rules.
This is really what the character trait empathy is all about. Can you really understand what drives someone to act? Ever wondered why someone who is on social assistance smokes? or buys a coffee at Tims every day even though money is scarce? Imagine what it would be like if that smoke or coffee was the only enjoyable thing in a day spent working at a minimum wage job with no prospects of anything better. Unless you can see where that person is coming from, it's pretty easy judge.
Let's stop separating you from me. Let's look at the world from a different perspective. We're all in this together.
The Community of Character is all about recognizing and appreciating the good stuff in life. This blog will share some thoughts on how we can be the best version of ourselves.