We’re one, but we’re not the same.” ~ U2, “One”
I find myself again quoting a song lyric to open my post, but after hours of trying to comb out the tangle of thoughts in my head, this phrase just seem to best sum up it all up. One of the core tenets of my particular path is that we are all interconnected, that we’re one. I firmly believe that we are linked on a very deep, almost unfathomable level, a connection so deep that it can never be severed.
However, I am neither so fluffy or delusional to believe that human beings, as a collective, will ever embrace this link. I’m not sure, given the nature of human emotion, that such a thing is possible. Nor do I think that we need to reach that level of mutual understanding. We certainly don’t need to all link hands and sing “Kumbaya”. We… gasp… don’t even need to like each other.
What I do think that we can accomplish as individuals is to recognize the humanity in other people, particularly in those who are not just like us. It’s easy to see the humanity in the face that stares back at you from the mirror. It’s probably pretty easy to recognize the humanity in the faces around your breakfast table every morning. You can probably even find a commonality with most of the members of your social or economic class, even those who are strangers to you. But can you find a shared bond with someone whose life, ideas, and beliefs are different to your own?
It’s very easy to focus on our differences, on the things that separate. For some people, it’s far easier to bully or make fun of someone for their size, abilities, skin color, sexuality, religion, or nationality than it is to recognize the shared bonds between us all. Here’s my response to those people: Stop. Just stop. Those differences are not causing you personal harm, but your attitudes about those difference are hurtful. It does no harm to you that someone else is fat, skinny, black, white, queer, straight, bi, able-bodied, differentially-abled, Pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, American, Canadian, Lebanese, or whatever it is that you’re so focused on. Try seeing others as whole beings instead of picking apart one aspect that you don’t like. I’m not saying that you have to like every other person on the planet, but I’m asking that you learn to look at other people through a lens of respect and tolerance. We are all linked, like it or not, but we don’t all need to fit your ideal image of what a person should be. Give others the same respect that you think you deserve.
I’ll step off my soapbox now and close with this thought: We’re one but we’re not the same. And I’m glad that we are what we are.