Accepting and Being Thankful for Differences

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s important to remember how much we have to be thankful for; how much people are alike; how beautiful our differences are.

The other day, I saw someone had scribbled out Gillespie’s name on Beta Bridge. I am liberal, but that does not mean this sight didn’t sadden and frustrate me immensely. I so desperately want people to get along, to have a dialogue and work together. The past year, people have demonized other people, generalized entire populations, and slandered those who are not like-minded. I don’t want to say what, if anything, has been warranted or not because who am I to make that judgment? I am one person with my own individual opinions, some of which are shared by others, some of which aren’t. All I know is humans are more alike than we are different, and we won’t get anywhere by responding to hate with hate.(Photo courtesy of simon maage)

I am thankful for different perspectives and opinions. I am thankful that I live in a country where these differing mindsets are a basic right. Certain mindsets, however, are not always welcome. Beyond politics, there are countless topics and issues that have divided people and changed with time. Religion, sexuality and gender, race, socioeconomic status.

I hope we can try harder to understand one another. To listen and engage and help rather than tear down and jump to conclusions. Agree to disagree. Learn. Be open-minded. Ask questions. Don’t enter conversations with an agenda, with the idea to change the other person; share your thoughts and reasons, but do not force them on another. We cannot expect others to respect us if we do not respect them.

(Photo courtesy of Soren Astrup Jorgensen)

In Kindergarten, one of the first things we learned was this song: “Do unto others, sisters and brothers, as you would have them do unto you. And if you know it, then you can show it. This is the Golden Rule.” It can be therapeutic and necessary at first, to come to terms, but in the long run it is futile to rant and succumb to anger; with like-minded people you get nowhere, and with those of differing opinions you only stir up tension and resistance.

I strive to never be judgmental. Even for little things, like the way you eat a certain food, a TV show you like, or a shirt you’re wearing, disdainful judgments can hurt. It’s fine to be shocked or surprised when you encounter something new or unknown, but we should not put others down just because they are doing something different than us or that we’re not used to. We should support one another, welcome each other’s differences, and validate one another’s idiosyncrasies. “Normal” is different for everyone. We are comfortable with what we know, and it’s okay to be a little uncomfortable upon encountering different ways of being.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

I am thankful. I’m thankful that my friends challenge my ideas and make me think. I’m thankful for strangers walking by in a unique outfit, inspiring a future shop. I’m thankful for different backgrounds that result in varying perspectives and stories and experiences. I’m thankful for differences in general for keeping life interesting and allowing each person their own, individual share, to hold for themselves or share with others. I’m thankful for quirks and abnormalities. I’m thankful.

 

 

 

(Thumbnail Photo courtesy of maxlkt)