From Hitler to Life Vests: Don’t Let the Messenger Kill the Message

When a person does terrible things—like committing organized extermination of an entire group of people—we consider that person to be a pretty sh*tty person.

We don’t want anything to do with that person. And it’s disgusting to even think that this person existed, let alone shared the same air as us.

You almost want to hold your breath around a person like that, just to make sure you’re not taking in any of their negative joo-joo.

But like, you wouldn’t really do that, right?

You wouldn’t deprive yourself just because you don’t agree with someone else, would you?

That brings us to two questions to consider:
1. Should we accept everything we hear from someone we admire?
2. Should we disregard everything from people we don’t value?

If we can slow things down a bit, I’d make the statement that between these two questions is the missing link.

👉 First, if you’re listening for truth, you should consider that you can find it in the most unexpected places—from the most unexpected people.

Because when we judge a message because of the messenger who delivered it, are we really seeing the message for what it is? Are we really seeing the person for who they are?

Or are we branding the person and defining them by their parts and not the whole that they are?

If it’s the latter, consider how that reflects upon you.

If you define another person because of some qualities—by their parts and not their whole—that means on some level, you also define yourself by the same measures, right?

In other words, instead of seeing yourself as whole, you see yourself in parts—just like you see others.

And if you’ve trained yourself to judge others so harshly on their shortcomings, or their so-called “negative” aspects, what do you think you do to yourself?

👉 Second, what difference does it make where the message is coming from, so long as it resonates with us, and we can find value in it?

I mean, if you’re drowning, and Hitler came with a life vest, would you deny the vest and drown—just because it was Hitler?

You might wonder what Hitler is doing there with a life vest for you in the first place, but that’s an entirely different matter…

If you would rather demonize him to such an extent and drown instead, consider the other side to that.

Consider how it is that we idolize people and believe everything they say… even if it’s not the best thing for us… even when it’s clearly wrong.

…Hypocrisy can show up in many forms, and it’s good to recognize that it exists within all of us.

A good rule of thumb to play by is when you find yourself in disagreement with another individual, remember that you disagree with their idea, not the person themselves.

The individual is a whole—complex with an enormous spectrum of parts, some you’ll consider ‘good’ and others you’ll consider ‘bad’.

The idea you disagree with is just an aspect of that individual—an aspect that can change in a moment.

So just like you can change in a moment, anyone can else can, too.

…Except Hitler. He’s dead. And that’s definitely a good thing.

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