Skip to main content

…Who Just Happened to Be

By November 16, 2023Blog

As I watch the news unfold, read the frightened words of friends, and see the suffering in so many places in the world, a thought occurred to me.  Labels are killing us.

The brain desires to simplify life in order to accomplish a basic need to conserve resources. 

To that end, it began to create a sorting system to categorize everything it encounters. 

This does make sense when we are zipping through the pet food aisle and skip over the dog food because we need fish food. 

However, this sorting has caused big problems for us as a species.  We sort humans into categories

This is the basis of stereotypes, biases and judgment that are usually –VERY WRONG. People are unique.  No two fingerprints are the same, and so it follows that the people that they are attached to are just as special. 

I see this in veterinary hospitals when we sort clients into “difficult” or “nice”.  We also sort our team into “proficient’ or “inadequate”, our doctors as “excellent” or “incompetent”.   There seems to be no middle ground, even though the middle ground is where the magic happens.  It is the place where we see each other as flawed humans doing our best.  It is the place where curiosity sets the tone for interactions over judgment.  What if we changed our inner voice to say, “She is a human being who just so happens to be an upset client” or “He is a human being who just so happens to be fresh out of vet school”.  I think this simple change of phrasing could make a difference in whether we blame and shame or become curious instead of furious.

Think about what would happen if we even changed it in the news:

They are a human being …who happens to be Republican.

She is a human being …who happens to be Black.

He is a human being…who happens to be Gay.

They are human beings…who happen to be Jewish.

They are human beings …who happen to be Asian.

They are human beings… who happen to be Neurodiverse. 

They are human beings…who happen to be physically challenged.

They are human beings… Who happen to be………????

Do I think this will bring about world peace? Or end discrimination?

Maybe not. Human habits are difficult to change. However, it is NOT impossible; we could at least try.

Maybe if we just thought of others as people with families, hardships, struggles, joys, loves, kids, pets, homes, and a desire to live in a place without hunger or fear, then maybe destroying them with our words or our weapons would not be so easy. 

Even better- let’s just ditch the labels and know that we are all part of one species…. Human, and treat each other as friends or potential friends.

We could share instead of hoarding our resources. We could learn about each other’s culture and ways.  We could expand our narrow views beyond our own small bubble.  We could accumulate the knowledge of the entire world instead of just our neighborhood.

How amazing would that be?

Let’s give it a try.


Debbie Boone’s New Book:

“Hospitality in Healthcare”

Today’s healthcare consumer demands more than just an appointment. They want healing and human connection. Providing an exceptional experience at every step of the patient journey requires active participation and collaboration from the entire medical office team.

Read More!