Bettering ourselves means respecting the differences all around us

The other day I was re-reading some of my previous posts and came up with the following conclusion – I have a hell of a lot to say about pretty much everything.

Admittedly I’m not a psychologist or a life coach. No, I’m just an ordinary guy in his late 30’s who often tears up during sappy movies, loves pizza to a fault and cringes whenever he hears the words “man cave” uttered.  On my journey to identify, appreciate and accept the person I am in the world today, I’ve also come to learn the things that truly matter in life – things I’ve tried to share in each post that I write.

Each one of us is capable of reshaping the world we inhabit regardless of race, status, age, profession or gender. All that’s required is a great deal of empathy, patience, hard work and a sprinkling of humility.

Fred Rogers once said that, “All we’re ever asked to do in this life is to treat our neighbor exactly as we would hope to be treated ourselves. That’s our ultimate responsibility.”

Today’s fast paced, technological world has somehow managed to erase the word “respect” from the social dictionary.  In its place is the mindset that the world is all about “me”. Many have adopted the notion that the world owes them something, a theory undeserving of most people.  We’ve grown into a society that thinks very little beyond their own well-being – living with a life of expectations we rarely earn.

Being respectful of others requires work. It means giving up the dominance and power we hold over those we deem lesser than we are – as though we have any right to judge another human being. But some day we’re all going to turn around and seek the respect of someone that’s going to look the other way, dismissing us.  It might be our mates; it might even be our children. Maybe then we’ll know what it feels like to never give a damn about anyone but ourselves. If Rogers’ statement is true “to treat our neighbor exactly as we would hope to be treated”, there must be a lot of people in the world who haven’t yet found a way to respect themselves.

We’re never done learning in life, and I myself sometimes struggle to practice what I preach in this very blog. But that’s part of the process. No one will ever be perfect. But making the continual effort to better the people we are and hope to be, while respecting the differences all around us, is the only way to bring about a positive change for everyone.


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