On imagining people complexly
Imagining people complexly sometimes means sit and watch people in an airport and make up stories in your head about who they are and what brings them to gate 7 today. It sometimes means that occasionally, when you are watching cars speed past you on the street that you are overcome with a sense of sonder and curiosity. Imagining others complexly can be as simple as realizing that when someone is unwarrentedly grumpy at you it likely means that something is really wrong in their life, evoking a sense of sympathy rather than judgement. It could be seeing an engagement ring on someone’s finger and wondering about what their partner is like and how they met.
It does not matter so much how you choose to imagine others complexly, as long as you remind yourself to. It is an important part of being a person to be able to think of others as more than other; as people who feel and react to the world and things that they’ve been exposed to in much a similar way to you. Often it is too easy to forget that everyone has their own intimately intricate life, when they only appear in yours for one part of it. But when we forget to imagine others complexly, we forget what it is to be human, and we isolate ourselves from a vast majority of how it feels to be included in the world. Just as importantly, when we forget to imagine others complexly, we forget to treat them with the common decency and understanding that they deserve.
So, imagine others complexly. It improves the lives of everyone you know, including your own.