Mistaken Identity

This morning James shared a provocative message he titled

Solidarity, Identity and Action

He focused on an excerpt from the book, The Patron Saint of Liars, a piece that sent me in a tailspin. It alludes to our desire to be set apart from others who behave in offensive ways, as though we don’t.

I’m thinking of times someone walks in late to a meeting, runs a red light, drives too slowly in our lane ahead of us, piles on the groceries and then beats us to the 11 items or under lane. Not necessarily are these the offensive behaviors, yet they are things we will confess to eventhough when we see others do them, we are still peeved.

But those bigger issues, like not taking responsibility, shifting blame, avoiding conflict, or even causing pain or harm we usually isolate ourselves from. We claim our values (honesty, openness, respect, etc.) yet the demonstration of them suffers.

For instance, somebody we’ve delegated tasks to falls short. It is so easy to point out their flaws, to resolve next time to do the job ourselves. Yet we fail to remember the process we went through when taking on someone else’s tasks and also falling short. We’re too busy thinking about how well we historically have handled that particular task to relate to the other individual.

Our humanity has shifted from caring and weak to rigid and inhuman. Our true self, the one which can so easily communicate to someone who has made a mistake, is over-ruled. We mistakenly believe we are someone completely different.

Consider those moments of authority when we can really make a difference. Perhaps someone is making a mistake in how they are processing a task, or maybe they are hedging out of dislike or frustration of an action. Can we relate to these things in a broad sense? Without a doubt we can. Yet we claim another identity – one of perfection and inhuman nature. What we communicate to those who need assistance is unattractive. It isn’t making a difference. It is aggravating and pointless. We are behaving from a mistaken identity – forgetting who we are and where we came from.

What can we, now in retrospect, do differently next time? What is the importance of doing things differently? For one, without identifying with someone, we don’t connect. And without a connection we can never make a difference. Yet making a difference leads to actions and relationships beyond our comprehension.

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On January 10th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by