Get Over Yourself

As a Jeep owner, you find yourself in a community of others who like the Jeep lifestyle.  However, I happened to go to a Land Rover website and found Jeep owners bashing the Land Rover owners. “Hate” doesn’t always come from fear, but it most certainly comes from a lack of understanding. I doubt the Jeep owners “feared” the Land Rover owners, but there is an assumptive element to the discussion: Land Rover owners are affluent and obnoxious, and their vehicles are “soft”.  While most of the Land Rovers I have seen around town haven’t been in more dirt than parking on the grass when the kids are late for soccer practice, ownership of a Land Rover shouldn’t automatically label you as presumptuous.

In groups, sometimes people over-identify themselves, and we see that pretty frequently in emergency services.  Just my use of the descriptor “emergency services” might rile you a little.  Firefighters versus EMTs? How about career as opposed to volunteer? Or even red trucks compared to yellow trucks?  We have strong emotions about ourselves that, poorly regulated, spill over into our interactions with others.  When we allow our emotion to dictate what we are, or how we project what we are about to others, we tread upon an area where we are best to avoid if we care to maintain that relationship.

Our generation pumped everyone up about how their opinion was worth something and gave everyone a trophy for participation.  What this does is say that we are valuable just because we show up; we are important because we say we are.  That we have a right and in some cases, an obligation, to say what we want, when we want to, and the hell with anyone who thinks differently. This has, among other issues, created the scenario where it is okay to tell people they are wrong without consideration for the idea that they may not be wrong, they may just have a different viewpoint.

Conflict most certainly comes from a lack of understanding, and in many cases, a desire to lump a group together for the sake of simplification. But regardless of how similar the objects in a group may be, if you take the time to appreciate their elemental structure, you can find that there are differences that we can relate to ourselves.  Just because someone belongs to a group that is different than we are, you might be surprised to find that that individual has a considerable amount of things in common with you as well.

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