Do you remember when you were a kid and, when you wanted something, your parents would say “ask nicely”? What happens to us as adults that we become so demanding? Not for material things but for the love and acceptance of others. The harsh reality is that not everyone we meet in life is going to like us, agree with us or accept our views on life; the honest ones will tell us that to our faces and the others will just disagree with us behind our backs.
Unfortunately, the desire to be loved and accepted are two of the driving forces in human nature and our need for them is so great that we look for them everywhere and are often hurt and offended when we are rejected or we perceive that we have been rejected. When we don’t get the love and acceptance we crave we tend to align ourselves with people that are like us, have the same values as us and put everyone else into our ‘Don’t Like’ box but, if we do that, don’t we risk the same treatment from others? It doesn’t occur to many of us that the more individuals that we have in our ‘Don’t Like’ box the more likely we are to end up in other people’s. We can’t force other people to love or accept us but we have a far greater chance of it happening naturally if we can lose our prejudices which, after all, are merely fears based on assumptions:
Liberals: Not every Conservative is a money crazed, gun toting, traditionalist who wants to destroy the planet
Conservatives: Not every Liberal is a tree hugging snowflake who wants to ban everything
Indigenous Population: Not everyone who wants to reside in your Country wants to change it or you
Immigrants: Not everyone wants to exclude you from their communities
Believers: Not everyone who doesn’t agree with you is morally corrupt or will attempt to divert you from your faith.
Non-believers: Not everyone who believes is a God bothering Bible basher who will attempt to convert you.
Gay/Lesbian: Not all straight people believe that you should not be able to love who you wish
Straight People: Not all gay/lesbian people are morally corrupt or want to corrupt you
Trans: Not everyone believes that you shouldn’t be entitled to identify as whichever gender you feel is right for you
Non-trans: Not every trans person is a threat to you and your children
Feminists: Not all men are ego driven mysogynists
Non-Feminists: Not all feminists are man-haters
I’m sorry if I’ve missed anyone’s box from this list but you get the idea. As long as we continue to identify ourselves as something ‘different’ from others and demand that everyone else accepts our point of view we are, forever, going to live in a divided society. Division leads to separation and hatred whereas tolerance and acceptance lead to understanding and peace.
We don’t have a ‘right’ to be right; an opinion is just that. Your views on life will not be the same as your neighbours or your co-workers. You will not agree on the ‘right’ way to raise your children or how best to manage your relationship. Your opinions on politics and religion will differ but should that prevent you from being friends? Rational debate, a big part of which is listening to the views of other people, will get you far more friends than standing on a soapbox and provoking them by telling them that they are ‘wrong’. No matter how passionately you believe in something, you will not bring someone else round to your way of thinking through anger and belligerence. I have seen many people provoked into anger when involved in a discussion about politics, for example; I knew that they didn’t feel really strongly on the subject from previous discussions but they became screaming crazy people when they felt that their position was being attacked. If you attack someone else’s ideals they will defend themselves…..
Do you agree that it’s time that we all stepped away from our little boxes and see what the rest of humanity has to offer us? If we can move away from the things that separate us and concentrate on the things that unite us surely we will all be happier or am I just an idealist? I really hope not………..