For most of us, despite our differences, would fit into these categories. Ironically, often we search until we can find something that makes a person different from us. It is almost as if saying, “That person is a lot like me.” Somehow diminishes either one of you. When we understand that we all share the same basic needs and wants, judgment and hatred become all but impossible.
If you are a person who loves others and does not want to harm them, and reading a blog like this it would be a safe assumption you are, then it would serve you well to surround yourself with other like-minded individuals. Does it really matter where on this planet they are from? By writing these posts I have met and befriended many other like-minded souls from over 100 different countries. They have brought not only a unique perspective, but a great deal of joy to my life. Does it really matter what color they are? I am blessed enough to have friends of every race. Not only does it include many great and loving people, but our pictures together are a lot more colorful. Politics? Ooh…that is a good one. Quite often we can almost be at each others throats because of different ways to address the same problem. Instead we should focus on the fact that we are both trying to solve the same problem. Maybe their solution takes into account something we overlooked? Maybe a combination of both solutions would work the best? We will never get to that point if we busy ourselves with such low level minutia such as what political party is the correct one.
Even my wonderful friend Nick who sent me this picture, and by doing so inspired this post, has different opinions than me on a wide array of different subjects. Do you know what? That is great to me. Often when we talk he will bring to my attention a way of looking at things I had not considered. Even on subjects where we just ‘agree to disagree’ we still have the same respect and admiration for each other. Not only is it ok with us that we are different in some regards, but it is quite cool that we are also the same in many ways. It is that similarity that prompted him to share the above picture with me and allowed me to share it with you.
Today, celebrate the fact we are all a little different, and when it comes down to the core of who we are, most of us are really the same. Both of those should be reasons to celebrate with your fellow humans.
President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart that its opposite”
– Nelson Mandela 1918-2013
I interrupt my current string of blogs because of the passing of one of the truly great men of our times. Nelson Mandela was a man who understood what freedom was. After being jailed for a third of his life for nothing more than the color of his skin he was set free and went on to become his country’s first black president. Years later when being interviewed by then US president Bill Clinton Mr. Mandela was asked if he felt anger and hatred for the people who had imprisoned him. He said as he was walking out of jail he did feel that as those people took away his wife for all of those years which ended up ruining his marriage. He also was deprived of the privilege of watching his children grow up. These feelings are understandable. I think any of us would feel the same way. What sets this man apart was his answer to the next question. He was then asked if he did have those feelings, and rightfully so, how did he manage to put them aside and work with those same people who put him in prison for the good of his country. His answer speaks volumes and is something we should all pay attention to. He said he knew if he did not leave those feelings of anger and hatred behind he would still be in prison and never be free. Wow. I don’t know about you but I do not think I could take that high of a road. It has been said that forgiveness is not a gift you give the other person, but a gift you give yourself. Through his compassion and understanding a nation was healed and people came together. What could we do in our own lives if we did not let our feelings of anger and hatred stop us from doing what we should? We may not be able to heal a nation, but we could heal a family, a workplace or even our community. Buddha said being angry is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Our feelings of hurt, anger and sadness that we hang on to and let rule our present are our poison. Do yourself a favor and let them go. Not only will you honor the member of a truly great man and leader, but you will free yourself from the worst prison we can put ourselves in.