Aspiration or Inspiration?

“Treat others as I would like them to treat me.”

It’s a wonderful basis for living, and I adopted it many years ago. Of course, how effective I have been is open to debate, but I like to think that my “compliance percentage” is quite high. The problem though is that it is often misunderstood. I know that because, when I broach the concept with some people, they respond with “Aren’t you disappointed though when they don’t behave accordingly, or when you go out of your way to help somebody, but they never reciprocate … don’t you wonder why you bothered?”

It is so important to understand that the quote was not “Treat others as I would expect them to treat me”, but rather “as I would like them to treat me.”  Understanding the significant difference is important if one intends adopting that concept. An “expectation” that is not achieved can be really disappointing … but a “like” that does not follow through is just a part of living.

There are a number of areas which are important to understand if we are to role model effectively.

We have to understand that each of us is a product of so many factors – parental influences, childhood experiences, teen experiences, location, lifestyle, traumatic experiences, success and failures etc. etc.

Romantics will often stress our uniqueness; our individuality. They  are quite correct. Because we are all exposed to so many (and varied) influences as we proceed through life, we are indeed absolutely unique individuals. This means that I need never be disappointed at how “you” behave. I could of course not like how you handle a specific situation, but I just need to remember that your life influences are different from mine. If I can always remember that, then I can accept what you do/don’t do. I may not like  your actions in a specific situation, but I can accept that your life has taken you in that direction.

I am reminded of a lesson I learned many years ago when my two teenagers were being particularly challenging – “There is no reason why you cannot always love your children. You may not love what they do, but you can always love them for who they are.” – My issue with that was learning to separate the person from the action. I did not find that easy to do, but it makes so much sense when you think about it. Why should we stop loving anybody simply because of what they did, when all they did was behave in accordance with their life experiences?

We should perhaps each spend a little time to understand who we are … what/who were our biggest influences … who we admired, and why, as we grew up … what made us happy, and what brought us to tears … our emotional highs and lows …. our successes, and our failures.

If each of us was a cake recipe, it would indeed be a very complicated recipe, and each cake would be unique. Once we have grasped that perspective, it is so much easier to accept others simply for who they are.

“Treat as others as I would like them to treat me.”

Does this provide a goal for you to aspire to, or does it simply inspire more thought? Regardless of your answer, somebody once said “Role model how you would like the world to be.” There are more of us than there are politicians so, rather than wait for our leaders to move in this direction, we should simply take charge and demonstrate our desire for a better world. There are millions of us, so can you just imagine what such a common perspective could achieve?

 

 

Equality?

I was recently steered to a video (link below), on the basis that I might be interested because I know of somebody who parallels the circumstances covered. While I admire the mother’s sense of the realities of their particular situation, I also have to admire anybody that young who is prepared to explain about their developmental challenges.

The above linked video also generated a conversation on our society, and what so many of us do, and do not, accept. We noted that so many people have the perspective that heterosexuality is the only acceptable option. Sadly there is no acknowledgement that the individual could well have no control over the matter, but is ostracized regardless. On a positive note, it is nice to see those “boundaries” softening, but we still have a long way to go.

Indirectly from the video, our conversation drifted to “tomboys”! It is interesting that a young girl can dress up in boy’s clothes and generally act “boyish” and be accepted as a tomboy. If a young boy, however, dresses up in girls clothes and generally acts “girlish”, the reception would tend to be quite different.

The above is clearly just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in any discussion around sexuality, but it does make one wonder how on earth we got to become so intolerant of “differences” in general? My immediate reaction is to lay the blame on narrow-minded religious teachings. That may be a little unfair, but so much of our history has been highly influenced by the church. Religious wars are in our past so we know that they had a significant degree of control over society in earlier times.

I am no expert on the bible, but I do believe that understanding, compassion, love thy neighbour, and other related terms of caring for our fellow humans is quite decisively mentioned. I also believe that other major religions stress similar character traits, so what justifies our intolerance to those who are different? What right do any of us have for saying “You are different from me, and therefore you shouldn’t be here”?

Digressing away from sexuality issues, I find it rather amusing (in a very sad kind of way) that this continent (N.America) is the home to so many immigrants. Even those who were born here were likely born from immigrant parents. So many grand-parents etc also came here as immigrants. With the greatest respect to the native people who populated this continent before England, Spain and France discovered their lands, the US and Canada would not be the same today were it not for the immigrants from the past. i.e. Most people here are from immigrant origins. The obvious question from all this is … Why is there a current of intolerance towards immigrants threading itself through our society?

Have we really become so egotistical; so self-centred; so protective of “our world”, that we now guard it so intensely that the well being of others is an acceptable sacrifice?

Just thinking.

People of the Street.

Just imagine …..

Just imagine that, because you feel the experience would be valuable to you, you decide to spend a night on the streets in your town. To so many people, it would be a crazy idea … but what if you really wanted to know what others are experiencing  on a daily basis?

The following verses are from “The Project”, which is part of a collection of verses in a book “Just Thinking”. Click on book cover in right column (may have to scroll) for more information.

I sit tonight on the pavement,
People watching… just to see
Who says “Hello”?
Who just walks by?
Who actually acknowledges me?

But I don’t seem to exist
In so many passing eyes.
Am I an embarrassment?
Do I make them feel uncomfortable?
Perhaps I am simply despised?

They are colder than the air
Which surrounds me this night.
For a caring and humane society,
At least as I understand it,
That’s really not right.

We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives. We have side stepped somebody on the street; may have thought derogatory thoughts about them; wondered why they don’t get a job like the rest of us; wondered whether “that girl” was a sex trade worker; turned away from them rather than risk eye contact. In general, we have all probably disapproved as they do not fit “our standard”.

They’re wrapped up in their lives.
Fashionable; conforming; neat.
They just don’t see…
People like me…
People who live on the street.

Sadly, that tends to be the state of our society. We are so controlled by commerce, which suggests that either we “play the game” or be considered something less than normal. We struggle to buy that nice house; we want peer approval so must stay in fashion; If we don’t whiten our teeth, will we ever smile again?  So much advertising pushes the message that unless you buy/use their product, then clearly something is wrong with you. This comes often from comments like “This must be in everybody’s bathroom” … “Everybody in our survey gave us a 5 star rating” … “Do you want to be the only one without …….”  “Surely you can afford a few pennies a week?” Many companies have a psychologist on their sales team, so they know how to convince you that their product is invaluable, and that your life is incomplete without it.

When was the last time you heard that it would be humane to just acknowledge a street person? When was the last time you affirmed that a street person was, in fact, a person?

I am lucky and I know it.
I do have a home.
I do have food and friends,
And I can leave here whenever I choose.
Unlike many… l am not alone.

To live on the streets
Is in nobody’s dreams.
There are reasons behind such a move.
Reasons we may not understand but
Is life ever what it seems?

It is such a basic fact that nobody has gone through school with the dream  of living on the street! If we can accept that statement, then we must acknowledge that those people must have experienced something which put them on the street.

Say “Hello!” to the next person you see,
Sitting in their sidewalk home.
Recognize that reasons they must surely have,
To live in such a way.
Being ignored… and alone.

It would be pure fantasy to believe that we can take all those people and reintegrate them back into our society, but is it such a stretch of our imagination to actually acknowledge that they exist.  Perhaps even smile at them? Perhaps just say “Hi”, or even  go and get them a coffee?

And when you say farewell.
When you leave and go to your home.
Remember those people
Who… for whatever reasons,
Will be spending another night on the streets… cold and alone.

Just thinking.

Perspectives!

The world would appear to be evolving into a very unstable place to live and, sadly, that has nothing to do with environmental changes; the structural integrity of our planet, or some cataclysmic event in our solar system. Sadly … it has everything to do with us. Continue reading

A different perspective!

I have written a number of Posts where “Perspective” has been the driving force (put it in the search field and you will get quite a few responses). Perspectives are important (if we are going to survive as a species) because everybody has a history, and that history has created personal perspectives.

Trying to see the world from Ray’s  perspective helps in our ongoing canine/human relationship. Just acknowledging that we are, who we are, because of our perspectives should hopefully drive home the simple fact that we can be very different … and have every right to be that way. Why is that person living on the street? Why did that couple do those things to that child? How that did lady achieve fame so quickly? If we understood their history and their resulting perspectives on life, all could well become very clear. Continue reading

Be the world ……!

One of the more common philosophies on life that I have heard is “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” There are a number of iterations of that, the most well known could well be “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” A more recent variation is “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. They are all basically suggesting that we should set the example of how we would like to see the world. Continue reading