Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Vive la Différence

Vive la Difference 
There is a meme on social media that is popular. It has variations on the theme, but the basic idea is this:

"When you say, I cannot eat bacon because of my religion, that is fine. When you say that others cannot eat bacon because of my religion, that is not fine."

I see too much of that and not much celebration of the differences in us. The problem in this case is not religion, it is our personal ethics on things. We all have them. Sometimes they come from religion, sometimes they come from philosophy, and other times it is just they way we think things are supposed to be and how we choose to live our life. 

And once we have that standard, we expend so much energy wondering why others do not live like us and we often make sure they know about it. 

How we eat, how we love, who we sleep with, how we conduct friendships and relationships and clothing and what we weigh and so much more is our choice and we should not be judged for that and we should not be telling others that they should be more like us. 

When someone judges you by their standard and you are truly not breaking any laws or hurting anyone, the problem is not yours. The moral failing is not yours. The shortcoming is not yours. They are judging you based on a standard of right and wrong they created to feel more secure in an uncertain world. They can blame it on a god or a philosopher or a magazine story or any other such thing, but regardless the source, the problem is theirs. 

There is something else that is amiss when we do that. We make others feel less than they are. We diminish them because they live differently than we do. We hurt them. We make them question themselves. Here is the thing, many to most of us hide who we are and tell half truths about who we are because we are afraid to be rejected for who we are. It is much easier to pretend to live by another's fabricated standard to live within the circle of acceptance or to be rejected for what we pretend to be as opposed to the gut wrenching pain of being rejected for who you are and how you really and truly live. 

When I was a minister in evangelical churches, I was very judgmental of others. When I was a progressive christian, I was still on a mighty tower determining right and wrong and good and bad based on something non universal. Based on my perspective. And the whole time I hid aspects of myself so I would not face the same living hell I put others through. 

Now, in my mid forties, I truly love and celebrate the diversity. As I explore the differences of how people live and why they do, I am broadening my horizons in what feels like a personal renaissance. 

How others live, even when they make choices we would not make, is utterly fascinating and beautiful. 

I wish I could tell us all to just be ourselves and not judge others for their differences. But the reality is that when you are yourself, others will reject you and it will hurt. But there is a flip side. Others will celebrate you and they will celebrate themselves. That is beautiful. 

Celebrate those differences. Celebrate yourself. Try not to force others to be like you no matter how wonderful you are, they have to walk their path. And please please please do not think yourself less or live less than you are to make others happy. If they get to live their lives by their standards, wonderful. You have the same right. It is a violation of your beauty to be expected to live their lives by their standards. 

Long Live The Difference!!!!

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