You’re not like me

IMG_2764The events in Orlando this week were distressing to say the least and once again reminded me of how people treat people who are different from them.

If you listen to children’s conversations regarding being different, they generally are comprised of statements like, “you have different color hair and eyes than me, you live in a different house than me, you are taller or smaller than me, you are left handed and I’m right handed, you have a thingy and I don’t, you are a different color than me or you are better at sports or school than me”.

The things they talk about regarding being different are simply things they notice and are generally delivered without judgement, criticism or anger.

Somehow, as we become older, we often start to change our thinking and dialog about others whether it be from being influenced by family, society or government. Unfortunately, all too often those things that kids take with a grain of salt become destructive and hurtful as we act out in unhealthy ways.

The dialog goes from what those kids said to things like, “You’re not the same color than me and I fear or dislike you, you aren’t of my faith or religion and I hate you for it, you don’t belong to the same party or political persuasion than me so we can’t agree on things, you are not of the same sexual persuasion as me and I can’t accept you, you’re from the wrong country and you are all evil and I can’t trust you, you’re way too conservative or liberal for my taste and I can’t relate to you or want you in my country or even, you don’t root for the same team as me and I don’t like you for it and want to hurt you”.

I often wonder at what point we lose our childhood view of the world and become so critical and bitter as to treat people so poorly just because they’re not like us. Sure we change along the way and life, fear and other things change our perspective, but I do believe the more we are able to hold onto our childhood view of the world when it comes to how we interact with and feel about others then the better off we would all be.

To be honest, I don’t want the rest of the world to be like me or think like me. First of all, I don’t have it all figured out and I don’t want to hang with people who all think, act and believe in all of the things I believe. It’s much more interesting to be around different people from different walks of life and with differing beliefs. In the end it makes us a lot more accepting of others and less fearful of our fellow man.

I remember a “Twilight Zone” episode where this guy ended up not being able to tolerate anyone who was not like him and kept hoping everyone would be more like him. One day he woke up and found everyone he met did look just like him even the women and children. At first he liked it but after a while it drove him crazy.

I remember being turned down for a job once because I wore sunglasses to the interview and was “too laid back” for their taste. To say the least, I was happy to have been rejected by them as I would never want to work for an organization that was so closed minded.

I suppose it’s human nature to have some bias but I also believe if we are all just a little bit more open minded, tolerant and accepting of others and their differences, and view others and the world more like children do then there would most likely be a lot less of the heinous acts we have seen of late and it would be a lot better world to live in.

Sure I know I’m a bit of a dreamer but at least it’s a good dream.

Thanks again for checking in this week and I will look forward to seeing you again here next week. In the interim, pray for peace as well as the victims of the Orlando attack and others around the world who have been the victims of such atrocities.

Aloha, Paul


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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