The Little Matter of Us and Them
"How you treat "them" makes a tremendous difference for all of Us."
I, like many others, participated in two emotional roller-coaster rides this weekend - courtesy of the movie, Avengers: Endgame, and the t.v. show, Game of Thrones.
Maybe you didn't watch those. Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe you had a front row seat to the movie and a party complete with who-will-die checklist for the show. (Don't worry - absolutely NO SPOILERS in this email.)
Regardless of which camp you fall into, I love how these events offer an "in" for us to talk about something totally related to the shows...and completely unrelated.
If you are on social media, you might have noticed the huge influx of posts about either or both of these shows. (After all, Avengers obliterated box office records across the board... and Game of Thrones started its season with a record-breaking 17.4 million viewers. So chances are sorta, kinda high that you were among the millions of viewers OR that you’re friends with one on social media.)
But those are inevitably followed by the posts by people who proudly proclaim that they HAVEN'T seen these shows (and don't plan to).
The communities are created (seen it / haven’t seen it; love it / don’t care) and the lines between "us" and "them" are drawn. Some people - unconsciously or intentionally - take a heavy black marker and scribble-highlight over and over that line. "If you aren't with us, you're against us" type thing.
With something as harmless as a popular show, this scribbling might seem (and might be) harmless.
A few jokes exchanged with friends about "those poor people who are missing out on what we experienced" and a temporary shunning of said friends whilst you chat endlessly about the plot lines ....
Or a few jabs at "those people who wasted their time" in front of a screen watching something while we went out and actually lived our lives...
The teasing is shared, and disappears within a few weeks.
As we do one thing, so we do all things.
I've said this before, but it alludes to fact that we train ourselves to think and act in certain ways depending on what we repeatedly do. And repetition is created one tiny act (or thought) at a time.
One turn made not using a turn signal creates a teeny-tiny message to your brain ... "oh, we don't need to pay attention to that click-y thingy". The next turn, it's a teeny-tiny bit more likely that you won't use your turn signal again. One chip makes it thaaaat much easier to eat the next one. And so on and so on.
Back to Avengers and the Throne race.
Deciding who is "us" and who is "them" when it comes to the Marvel community or the allegiance to Jon Snow really isn't harmful, and could even be a fun part of bonding with those you otherwise wouldn't have a chance to.
What's dangerous is not being aware that you are creating an us and a them....especially if you judge or treat the "them" as "less than".
Without that awareness (and conscious control over your choices), you make it more likely in the next situation that you'll create an "us" and a "them" ... and that you’ll more easily judge “them”.
And trust me, t.v. or no t.v., social media or no social media, - there will always be an opportunity for a "them". Everyday life presents countless situations to find your crowd...and to observe those who aren't seemingly part of it.
How you treat "them" makes a tremendous difference for all of Us.
A bit of teasing someone about the show they watched (or missed) ... no big deal, right?
A few unkind thoughts about "those losers" doesn't make a big difference, especially if unspoken, ... right?
A bit of teasing about someone's weight ... it's just a JOKE, right?
A cascade of mental judgments about the person in line in front of you who is dressed like THAT doesn't matter if you don't tell them, right?
Please tell me you can see the slippery slope into hell here.
Once again. Back to the Starks.
As with all things, I'm just inviting us all to BE AWARE.
No judgment. Just be aware how the little things lead to the big things. Be aware how your thoughts lead to actions. Be aware how a joke made here or there affects someone else...and influences who you are and will become.
Then laugh, giggle, see "us" and "them", tease your friend who obviously is missing out by not watching GoT (because, yeah, you just might need to watch it starting tonight….)
... and choose, thought by thought, action by action, breath by breath, how you want to be in this world.