Hey human! As humans, we’re no strangers to the complex social phenomena known as dehumanization, which occurs when the value and individuality of a person are being denied.
Dehumanization happens in everyday life and sometimes snowballs into something bigger and more devastating. How? Because it causes a moral disengagement where people accept or justify behaviors that they would otherwise recognize as unethical or unfair.
The most prominent examples highlighted in our human history books include slavery, Prisoners of War, human trafficking, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Holocaust.
Alternatively, the process of rehumanization reminds us what it means to be an individual of worth. The rehumanization process requires both groups to acknowledge and understand that they share the same humanness. According to social psychologist Susan Fiske, this includes appreciating each other’s capacity for intent, thoughts, and feelings.
So how does this phenomenon show up in the workplace and in our lives today? After 19 months of being in this chronic crisis, how are we intentionally or unintentionally not seeing others as the complex humans we are, full of emotions, experiences, and everything else that makes us human?
How can we rehumanize each other?
There’s no magic bullet, and it all depends on where you’re starting. However, here are a few things to consider:
- Encourage emotions at work. Let those tears flow! According to this gem of an article, leaders should stop dismissing employees’ emotions.
- Tyranny is out; empathy is in. People want agency and autonomy - and are willing to walk if they don’t get it. Check out this interview Joe Mechlinski and Jeff Lesher did with comedian Matt Kazam - over 30,000 views!
- Acknowledge and respect the human needs of others. To be human is to need, and yet we have been conditioned to believe that it’s not alright to need certain things. Check out Tony Robbins' Primal Needs here.
- Be aware of social media’s impact on our lives. Tristan Harris and Daniel Schmachtenberger deep-dive into social media’s effects on civilization. Plus, Facebook files prove dehumanization is happening all over the platform - and they know it.
- Empower your team to share their stories. Seeing each other as the humans we are only connects us more. Check out a story shared with our team about what I learned through COVID. Although I’d prefer to do pretty much anything else but be on video, we all know there’s power in vulnerability. If you watch long enough, you’ll see that we included my daughter impersonating my inability to look at the camera and stand still :)
Trauma: In & Out of the ER
“Crazy Busy” is Killing Your Vibe
ER doctor Darria Long explains the critical lessons from hospital emergency rooms on handling stress, chaos, and life. As a Yale and Harvard-trained emergency physician, she discusses three main points about how you can’t afford to label your “busy” as “crazy”:
- Everything is not an emergency. Know your “reds” and relentlessly triage.
- Reduce the number of decisions you need to make and design the crazy-making things at the beginning of the week (like what you’ll eat, wear, etc.)
- Get out of your head, and you’ll get out of your way - as you cannot solve anything in crazy mode.
And because we like quizzes to give us more validation on who or how we are, take this one: how “crazy busy” is your life?
You don’t need to be in an ER to experience trauma
Trauma doesn’t only occur in our emergency rooms. Some of us were born with trauma, and others have acquired wounds through experiences. Regardless, all of us have suffered some type of trauma.
If that’s true, how does it show up in real life? What are the behaviors, patterns, rituals, and ways of being that point to unhealed trauma? And worse yet, what if these are socially accepted and rewarded responses to trauma?
This one might be a smack in the face as it applies to nearly every high-performer I know. Of course, these things can feel incredibly empowering and productive, but they have a dark side and can be debilitating and disempowering.
Out of this World
Drones - the Good Kind
With roughly 870,000 registered drones in the US - 4X the number of commercial and private planes, it’s no question managing air traffic is growing incredibly more difficult by the day.
Although they’re filling up the skies, drones have a great ability to capture rare photos - check out the 15 winners of 2021 here. From Pink-footed Geese in central Norway to a Poodle in Rapeseed - you’ll be grateful you checked it out.
Countdown - the First All-Civilian Mission to Orbit
It’s not just the rich that get to go to space. If you haven’t seen it, COUNTDOWN on Netflix featured Inspiration4, the first all-civilian mission to orbit. Not only will it leave you amazed and touched, but you’ll also see the importance of how this mission involves people from diverse backgrounds. Who made the crew?
- Jared Isaacman: a 38-year-old entrepreneur who is an accomplished jet pilot
- Hayley Arceneaux: a childhood cancer survivor that works at St. Jude, the very place that saved her life (and this mission raised money for!)
- Chris Sembroski: Air Force veteran that works in the aerospace industry
- Dr. Sian Proctor: geoscientist, explorer, and science communication specialist with a passion for space exploration
With the world feeling a little heavier and darker now, it’s okay to take a break and daydream of going to space or hanging out somewhere below the clouds while taking rare photos from all corners of the Earth.
Join our Stories that SHIFT Newsletter
Subscribe to get your weekly dose of inspiration, stories, resources and entertainment delivered straight to your inbox every week. You’ll be happy you did!