Seeing people as people means seeing them and treating with compassion and understanding by virtue of their humanity, not because of anything they do for you.
The point of seeing people as people is not to make them change. It is not so that they will be grateful and thank you for your generosity. It is not so they can be happy and it is not so they can follow your example and see others as people themselves. It is certainly not so they will be advocates of your every need so that you can live in a delusional paradise.
It can’t be for any of those reasons.
Here is why?
If we are trying to see people as people so that they will change, we are not really seeing them as people.
A real person has needs and hopes and fears and a history that is complex and unfathomable and awe inspiring.
In the presence of another person’s struggle, we feel humble, not critical.
If I’m using seeing people as people as a way to get them to change, as a way to shift them, I’m not seeing them as people at all. I’m just seeing them as objects that can be interchanged interchanging
The point of trying to see people as people is that they are people and deserved to be engaged with that way. They deserve, that’s it. There is not further goal.
Seeing people as peoples means seeing faults, but it also means seeing greatness.
It means being able to marvel at what others are able to do and accomplish in spite of their faults and limitations. Or to see through the pain in their eyes to understand their mistakes.
The beautiful part is not the response, the beautiful part is the seeing.
A person who is imperfect, aged, ill, poor, too dark, too skinny, not ideal, is still a person.
Image by Heri Santoso