This past year, strike that, two years, have been difficult for most. We are more isolated, more divided than ever before, and we seem to be finding more things to disagree on then anytime I can recall. For the month of June, I suggest that we change for the moment – that we consciously look for the ways we are alike instead of the ways we are different.
Have you experienced a situation recently where you shared your view on an issue only to be shut down, corrected, or made to feel wrong by the other party? Have you been told that you hold a position that is ignorant? Or that you are an ass for your thoughts, position, lifestyle, whatever? I have ~ and as a white, cis gender male (I had to look that up to make sure I understood the definition) ~ I can only imagine how others experience intolerance for their beliefs, gender, orientation, political affiliation, etc.
So, what if, for the month of June, we deliberately practice tolerance of others? And I mean universally, without question. How might that look? I know it will be a challenge for me as I am quick to judge others for their decisions, most notably on the freeway. But seriously, how might this look? How might this work? For an example, I offer you this 🎁 …
I have a friend, we’ll call him Anthony (because that’s his name), who I work out with twice a week. We’ve known each other for a long time, and I look forward to the hour I spend with him. He and I are of opposite political affiliations (until recently anyway because I registered “unaffiliated” a while back, but that’s not the point). We talk about his kids; what they are going through as they navigate the world. We talk about fitness and health, and we share what we are trying that is working and not working. We talk politics and make fun of it, the politicians, the craziness of it, the media coverage of it. We listen to each other’s ideas and agree more than we disagree. I enjoy the time we spend, and I look forward to it. I have never felt judged for my point of view, and I find that by listening to his, I sometimes alter mine.
You see, we are more alike than different. Period. If you take the time to really spend time with others and really listen and not judge, you will find more similarities between you than differences. I am not trying to give myself credit here. I am the judgiest judge out there. I am really giving the credit to Anthony. He does a much better job at this than I do.
So, for the month I am adopting a more inclusive outlook and, likely, I will fail. I will rush to judgment. I will be critical. I will be intolerant. I will fail to listen. But I will recognize it, make the correction, and I will reaffirm my commitment to being accepting and tolerant of others and I will strive to listen and to understand.
I’ll let you know how it goes. And if you’d like to try alongside me and share your experiences or your thoughts, I welcome them.
Here is what I know: I appreciate you for who you are, and I am grateful every day that you are in my life.
I hope you feel that acceptance.
Have a great month 🏳🌈