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Friday, October 8, 2010

The Beauty of Differences....

I overheard two people talking about the baseball playoffs the other day at the grocery store. As they walked away, the guy bagging my groceries said bluntly: "Who cares." I said, "obviously they do", to which he replied "I don't like baseball". Now, I didn't get involved in the conversation, but it reminded me of an old saying which I rather like. It says "a fanatic is someone who is passionate about a subject in which you have no interest". I love people who are passionate about something. If you've ever seen someone passionate about sports, they'll say "Well, we won last night". It's not that he actually had anything to do with his team winning, but he feels he is a part of something, and in a way, he is. I've always looked at sports as an amazing ability to draw people from all walks of life towards a common goal. During that game, the fans don't care about race, creed, or color, they're all high fiving each other when their team does well, and they all feel the disappointment of defeat if they lose. And for a few hours that day, people that would normally never talk or socialize with each other shared smiles, highs, and lows. So, what is it about people that they can't do that in everyday life? If you can view people as having the same goal as you; ie wanting to be happy, wanting to be themselves, wanting to love and be loved, then you'll see that we are not really different from each other afterall.

Getting back to my interaction with the grocery bagger, what an amazing difference he could have felt inside himself by recognizing the passion in the individuals, and seeing the good that was happening. Instead, he only saw his dislike in himself, and felt the annoyance of that situation. We cannot judge someone for being interested in something that we are not. It is not "wrong" that they are interested in it, just as much as it is not "right" that we are not interested in it. But, if left unchecked, these attitudes flow over into how we interact with the world around us. Someone's clothing style, someone's sexual preference, someone's political affiliations. All these things can cause a great amount of discomfort when we put our "opinions" on it. It's always amazed me that when I tell someone I don't like tomatoes that there is never a reaction, but if I don't like something that someone else holds some sort of attachment to, they will argue with you like mad for not agreeing with them.

There is great beauty in differences of opinion. If used correctly, they can open up new thoughts and ideas that maybe you haven't seen or thought of before. Or, maybe not, but you have to be able to give the person the permission to be them. It only affects you if you let it affect you. Remember, you don't have to understand why the person does something, or believes in something, but we do have to accept it. Because all the arguing in the world is not going to make the situation any different. And when you start feeling that discomfort inside of you that questions "How on earth can they DO that?", realize that it's their stuff, not your stuff, and it's perfectly ok for them to do that. Then turn within and ask yourself what about you can't seem to handle that. You may be amazed at what you find.


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