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  • Writer's pictureAnna Granta

The right environment to thrive.

I love plants and I have a growing collection of different types (excuse the pun). I was recently given a bunch of plants by someone moving abroad so I asked them how I should look after the plants. She helped me pick out locations for each plant with the right amount of light and heat so that each different plant would thrive. Plants all the need the same basic things, water, soil, light, etc but they are not all the same and treating them the same isn't going to get the best out of each plant.

People are a lot like plants. We all need food, home, community, relationships and meaningful work but that doesn't mean that we all thrive when we are treated the same. Watering a plant once a week vs every day can be the difference between it shriveling up, thriving, or drowning. It depends on the plant. A plant pro knows how to observe their plants and water them according to what the plant needs.

People benefit from the same care. Learning how to give yourselves and others that kind of personal, timely care is important. Do you know what your signals are? Can you tell when you are hungry? Need social contact? Need to be left alone? What does it feel like when you find meaning in your work? And when you don't? Are the answers the same for you as for other key people in your life? Often they won't be. That's fine, that's normal and that has important implications for how we relate to others.

We should treat others, not as we wish to be treated, but as they wish to be treated. In turn, we can expect to be treated, not according to others' needs but according to our own. Explaining to others the ways in which you are different from them and have different needs is an important part of advocating for yourself. You deserve to do this and be listened to.

Plants come with care instructions, explaining what environment and care the plant needs to thrive. What would your care instructions look like? If you don't know, I can help you figure this out. Are your care instructions being met in your current environment? Again, if not I can help you learn to communicate them in a way that gets them met.

I'm so tired of hearing that fair treatment means equal treatment. It doesn't. Equal treatment is just a way for the powerful majority to force their own preferences on everyone else. Fair treatment means treating people as they wish to be treated, according to their own needs, not anyone else's. Fair is treating everyone as the unique and precious individuals that we all are.

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