Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Not That I'm Better Than You...But

I consider myself to be a pretty decent person. I love community service and seldom look down on people. I am Politically Correct to a fault some would argue. Ask anyone who knows me and they will say that I care for and love friends as if they were blood relatives. I treat high-level executives and cleaning service people with the same level of respect.

However, I realized just the other day that I needed a major overhaul. I will tell you why. So here goes...I judge people. It is not in the sense that you are accustomed to recognizing. However, it is often an unmoving opinion on seemingly infinitesimal issues. It is in the slightest and most acceptable of ways. I generalize and stereotype people. Yes, that is correct. I am not perfect. How about you?

For example, if you see an attractive young woman with a man decades older than her, do assume it is a "money for pleasure" arrangement. Whatever happened to two souls connecting on a level that is only for them to understand and enjoy? How about the tween toting a $800 wristlet handbag? I am guilty of automatically thinking she is the pampered child of parents who have taught her nothing of humanity and less about morality and character. Could it be possible that her father is one of the most generous philanthropists in the world?...maybe, maybe not. The reality is not as important as the gross assumptions.

Newsflash: The single mother on public assistance and the trailer-dwelling house-wife do not need our disdain, pity or a hand-out. The visually impaired neighbor does not want us to do everything for them. Instead he or she needs the opportunity to begin on an equal playing field. Perhaps a chance to see beyond circumstances and believe in the possibilities is all that is required.

I came to a simple understanding; I cannot afford even the faintest bit of judgement. I am a person who has been judged by my skin color, height, hairstyle, gender, wealth, etc... Now it is up to you to decide to forgo some of the loaded jokes and harmful persuasions of your upbringing. When you meet someone new, think of he or she as a human being first. Acknowledge that you have more similarities than differences. Culture, family, hobbies,etc. are what make people who they are. Although many people may choose to hide their humanity, especially in the work place, take a hard look at yourself.

Connecting with others requires a bit of blind trust and faith. Treat people with kindness on a case by case basis. This will help you as much as the person you are meeting. Let their words, your instincts or discernment and especially their actions tell you whether less or more respect is required. Allow each man and woman to begin with a clean slate. Then, label the person a masterpiece or tragedy if you must, but base it on your own experience with the person. It is the least you can do and exactly what you would want to receive.

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