This intervention was a tough one for me, as I had a hard time figuring out who I had otherised that I wanted to empathize with. I feel like it is a part of human nature for us to make judgements about each other when we connect, both good and bad, and that this helps us find our people and establish friendships but also serves to enhance differences. It’s just a part of how we communicate, and though I try to always put myself in another’s shoes, I still pass my own judgements- and not in a completely negative way but an observational and emotional way. So going off of this, I’m going to focus on a more recent experience in which I otherised someone.
I was attending a yoga class, and the instructor was taking every opportunity to turn each pose into an inversion or fancy bind. After I while, I started to get annoyed. I felt like she was teaching the class almost for herself, because not only was she turning the flow into these inversion sequences but she was doing them all herself. Though it personally wasn’t affecting my practice, I felt like it was almost selfish of her to be teaching in this way- that she was showing off her practice and her abilities, and could be discouraging new students. But then when I started to think about what yoga really is about, I realized it wasn’t serving me to pass these judgements, and also that they might be a bit harsh- maybe she felt more validated and confident as a teacher by teaching this way, maybe she wanted to inspire her students and challenge them. I didn’t have to agree or like the way she taught the class, but I also didn’t need to be critical of her in any way. It’s ok to make judgements, but it’s important to recognize them as what they are and then empathize with whoever you might have passed that judgement on.