In the end, it is all about who we are as individuals and how we treat others as individuals. Disliking or fearing a group of individuals makes no logical sense though if there were one group I did dislike that would be the white straight male group because looked at as a unit they are a bigoted entitled privileged entity that treats others with equal parts disdain and arrogance. Yes, at face value I am part of that group but I am an individual above all else and that is why I choose not to be a victim of that particular indoctrination.
I am going to touch on a variety of topics in this particular blog but I hope to go into more detail with some of them at a later point. Some things I am going to discuss, I have covered in earlier blogs and I hope you go back and read them. There may be ideas and philosophies that make some of you uncomfortable, that make some of you cheer but mostly, I hope there are things that make you go....hmmmm....I never thought of it that way. That is the true purpose of this blog, to hopefully begin a dialogue that makes us think and rethink how we view ourselves and others, and how we act and react to others, especially those who are different than us. To begin that discourse, we must acknowledge that everyone.....EVERYONE...is different.
First, let us learn a little about ourselves. How do we feel about other sexes, races, cultures? How do we treat other sexes, races, cultures, religions even? If we don't like something about others, why do we not like it? When we dislike something in others, is it because of their differences or is it because they are a mirror, a reflection of something in ourselves that we dislike?
If it is the differences we cannot reconcile in others, what is the source of that? Is it fear of those differences and, if so, does that fear stem from ignorance of those differences or a lack of understanding of those differences? We all don't have to agree on everything to live with each other but we should at least attempt to understand the other's viewpoint. Once you can see where another is coming from, you can agree to disagree and move on from there. Is it easy? Not always but what may help is finding a topic or view that you do share. Few of us completely disagree on everything. Once you take away the fear and ignorance behind your dislike of someone, it becomes easier to accepted the differences between you.
If our dislike of someone or someone's ways has a different source, then accepting that becomes even more of an internal journey. If someone does something that drives you crazy, irritates you or enrages you, stop for a moment and take a deep breath, or several if necessary. Now, comes a time for self-reflection, a time to really look at what is causing these emotions and admit to yourself if it is something in you yourself that you are seeing reflected. It is time to look in the mirror and determine if the actions of this individual whom you dislike is really just forming a another mirror, a mirror into your own soul reflecting a part or parts of yourself that you dislike about yourself.
This is not easy. Admitting to one's own faults can be the hardest of tasks for many of us. I know it is not always easy for me. Sometimes I have to take the time to really process a situation to realize where my emotional discomfort is coming from, to see who I am and not who someone else is.
Once again though, once that realization and acknowledgement does take place, once you have passed through the denial stage, things do become easier and such revelations can be used as fuel not only to accept the actions of another but it can be used as a catalyst to begin to change the parts of yourself you do not like.
I do not profess that reading this blog will change your life. I do not claim that it will increase your's or others' tolerance in others or ourselves but I do believe it describes some universal truths that apply to all of us, that it contains lessons I have learned and that make me a better person when I follow them.
Another universal truth, is that I cannot change others, only myself and that truth can be applied to both sources of dislike that I have covered here. This does not mean that the changes I make within myself cannot help others though. We all must set an example to ourselves and sometimes, that example can be seen by others and inspire them to make changes in themselves.
The mirror we hold up can show us greater depths within ourselves than we ever imagines. It is up to us to choose whether we want to show the good reflections or the bad.