Being a good-ish person: Here’s what it means
Fighting biases in the workplace can be a tad bit difficult. We are all part of several groups, and we tend to consider ourselves supportive of other groups that cater to equality, gender biases and the like. Sometimes, these biases prevent us from growing to become the better version of ourselves. So, we must try to be good-ish.
Good-ish means ‘work in progress’. Most often than not, our entire conversation piles up on either one end or another—good or bad, racist or not racist, sexist or not sexist—with no in between. When you are part of either one spectrum, and if you make a mistake, you jump to the other category, with no return. This leaves no room for growth, or a receptive feeling, which can invariably accelerate an inherent understanding of the whole picture.
This is why it’s important to understand that we are all in between and that there’s no shame or harm in developing.
By being ‘good-ish’, we give ourselves room to make mistakes through which we learn.
Being a good-ish person doesn’t mean you take the easy way out, it is a platform where you are willing to learn more about an issue before having an objective opinion about the same. It’s with this alternative that we learn to have a flexible mindset, with which we can learn.
First and foremost, stray away from labels.
Sometimes, knowing one thing completely is what enables us to make comments about it. However, that isn’t the case with several people. Nowadays, it’s as easy to make a comment about something you barely know anything about because of labels. Ensure that you know a substantial amount about something before making any remarks about the same—so as to not come across as passing off half-baked information.
It’s better to know nothing at all than to know something halfway or incorrectly. When you’re away from labels, you’re free to learn more about both sides of a particular issue before being thrust into something you almost know nothing about. For instance, there is a lot of backlash about what feminism means. Some say it refers to women’s equality, and others say it is hard to describe and strives for men too.
When you jump into a label without knowing what it is, or before using this label onto someone else, be aware of what it means to be a feminist—before you call someone a feminist, what does it mean anyway?
To understand these things, it’s better to have a flexible viewpoint, before you develop an opinion of it gradually. It can go either way, but your opinions never lie. Once you know more about a topic, you inevitably choose a side.
Therefore, being a good-ish person means being open to being flexible and learning.
Admit you’re wrong.
When you’re learning about bias and sensitive topics such as race and sexism, it’s easy to go wrong. Years of intrinsic learning has incorporated several ideologies in our minds that it will take some time unlearning them in order to understand what is right and what is acceptable. For this to happen, we must be willing to admit it when we are wrong. When we accept our mistakes, we give ourselves room to correct them and prevent making them in the future.
Being a good-ish person gives you the chance to accept making mistakes in a humble manner, through which learning is incorporated without any bitterness.
No one can be right at all times, and it’s best to admit this before going about stating that we know everything there is to know about one topic, and that we can never be wrong.
Even if it is an area of your expertise, you can still go wrong.
The more people own to their mistakes, and take accountability for what they have done and aim to get better, the more it invariably liberates them to learn from their mistakes. Some of these mistakes can be humiliating, but accept them with modesty and growth is all that you will see.
Do not get offended
When someone makes a crude remark or a snappy remark about a particular issue, which is sensitive and mustn’t be joked about, try not to take it in an offended way. Have a regular conversation with them and try to see why they said what they did. It’s always possible that they weren’t aware of what they were saying, and that with an explanation, they will rectify and learn from their mistakes.
However, if someone is initiating a fight with you, stray away from such conversations.
It’s best to not lose your temper over issues such as this, because if then, you will drain yourself out of explaining things to everyone around.
It is not your job to explain why something is wrong to someone who chooses not to see the mistake in what they have done. If they have made a mistake, simply state that they have said something that is offensive, and walk away.
In the age of growing concepts and diversity, it is important that we choose to be good. However, when we brand ourselves as ‘good’ before we even know what it is we are arguing about, we give ourselves no room to grow. Therefore, it’s okay to be ‘good-ish’ for a while before transitioning.