As an Arts student at University, I first came to know the constitutive Other in an English lecture on literary theories. As a first year student, it was all very new to me, but after reading various novels and just taking a look at politics and everyday life, I realised Othering isn’t just a literary device, but rather it’s something that is constantly happening, it’s an action that all of us are continuously partaking in.
Othering has a very negative connotation. It’s the emphasis we place on how different I am from you, how the Other’s are worse off than me, and how I should be thankful that I’m not associated with them (For all the Song of Ice and fire fans, you’ll understand what I mean with negative connotation to the word ‘Others’).
Now on the road to self-improvement, a new definition is needed, because distancing yourself from others in a negative way, will certainly have a negative impact on you and those around you. So, in an effort to rethink Othering, I prefer to think of others in ways that they are going through different situations, but are just like me in the sense that we are all facing different battles. Instead of judging that person because they were rude to me at the bus stop, I try to think that they are going through an emotional turmoil, had a bad day at work, or whatever the case me be. Point is, it’s none of my business. Just like I have my off days, others have too, and once we start thinking about the person behind the negative action, we can stop judging them and in turn rather judge ourselves, find our own faults and improve on them to become a better example and live it for the world to see.