Hi it’s Joe Dwyer back for week two of “truly celebrating our differences” and I really hope that nobody wrote in to me and told me that they had nightmares about “Orangeland”. I know that I thought about it a little too much, hopefully you didn’t, and we can venture into week two of this all-important topic. For I think what we often times believe in our minds is that when we look at a situation where we are pre-judging or not really appreciating the differences in another person, we think that they are automatically the loser. They are the loser because we are not treating them with respect, and in fact, they are the loser, but how about us! How about us!
One of my favorite stories that I bring to schools with me is about James, again from my gym. A lot happens at my gym, I realize that too, more than just muscles working out, but this is a great story. I was using a machine for chest work. I was active in trying to use this machine best and all of a sudden I could see from across the gym a man pointing at me. He is pointing at me with a serious look on his face. He is about 6’ 8”, has arms the size of telephone poles, hair down to his waist, a bandanna on his head and he is walking towards me! I am in a state of panic.
I need to get away! What does this large, imposing man want from me! As he approaches, it was too late to get away and I was still there – this wasn’t my desire but it certainly had a positive twist of fate for me. As he approached, he said, “How are you? I was wondering if you would allow me to help you. For if you are, you will learn that you are not using that machine properly and are not getting all the benefits from it. Can I help you?”
At which point I turned and I looked at him or really looked UP at him and said, Sure, I would really do appreciate it! In fact, I did. What he didn’t know was that I was so busy not appreciating who he was, not appreciating or celebrating how different he was, being more afraid of what he wanted, that I was only thinking of what I did to him! Which I almost did but at the end of the day who would have been the loser? I could tell you that I would have been much more the loser because now I could tell you this is month’s later that I do know how to use that machine properly – thanks to James from the gym!
Have you every considered that this is what happens when you make a judgment about someone’s differences and you automatically remove yourself from them? What might you have gained? You might have gained some valuable insight that you certainly might now be aware of. You might have gained a friend that you certainly gave no option to that possibility because of the mindset you had that they were different and you really didn’t want to engage them because they were different. This is a real possibility, my friends, for the story that I just shared with you is a real life story. It is a absolute necessity for growing in this area, growing spirituality and growing in our life and the many different aspects that we might be missing when we shut ourselves out.
Now again, I want to point out that it is so important to not just look at this point, but we need to look it because the essence of what we do when we do not except somebody is we are being not very respectful, we are not being very kind to that person. There is a boomerang effect that can come back to us and really do us a lack of service as well.
I don’t know how many times I have been working with Shelby and people have crossed the street because she is a Pit Bull. I can remember very well a situation that took place where we were walking along on a street for a walk and somebody said, “That’s a Pit Bull, I need to cross the street! You’ll have to excuse me I am very sorry but I need to cross the street!”
I really wanted to stop and say, Don’t do that but I couldn’t even get those words out quick enough and before I knew it, the person was gone. It was very sad, very unfortunate because I really believe that whatever this person was feeling could really have been helped by Shelby’s kind and compassionate way.
But on a plus side, not too long ago, Shelby and I were part of a Therapy event where a couple of Pit Bulls went to a senior housing center. I was absolutely taken back in a positive way when an elderly gentleman, who had to be in his late 70s or early 80s, said that he had never pet a Pit Bull before. Shelby was the first Pit Bull that he actually put his hand on and he was in a beautiful place because of it! He had so many kinds words to say and even said at one point that this was something he wished he could have done sooner. He had really grown in his appreciation for these dogs by going out on a limb and accepting who she was and then petting her. It was a marvelous thing to witness and it brings my point into a powerful place, doesn’t it. Here was a person who felt it was not too late to ventured out and really grow in this all-important area.
This is how we have to think of it as well. We have to think of it as – I will take a chance and it is really not much of a chance is it? I will take a leap of faith and say, yes, I will accept that person’s differences. I will engage them. I will be a benefit for it and you will!
Once again, our canine friends lead the way, don’t they? The reason why so many people love our canine companions so much is for this very reason. They see the value in every single individual they meet. Just by the way they come up, they way they are so giving and so absolutely blind to any differences that we may have or anything that we might see, they don’t see. Because of that they do have that incredible way of continuing to go out and meet that many more people. Everyone comes up to a dog and maybe that is the reason, isn’t it?
So here we have come to a very powerful place I think in this area of truly accepting and celebrating our differences. So what I would like you to do in your action item is see if you could take stock in this important point. Instead of going forward which I ask you to go forward second this time, I would like you to go back and evaluate at least 3 situations in your life where you may have had a similar experience like I had in the gym with James, or you may have had a similar situation where you might have walked away and then could at least try to determine what you might have lost out on. At a minimum you probably will not be able to see the true value of what you lost out on but you could come to some conclusions of what you might have lost. With that, take that into careful consideration as you move forward. Yes, have that much more of an open mind and an open heart. This is a powerful lesson, my friends, and I urge you take it with a high degree of seriousness but also a high degree of enthusiasm for you will see some beautiful things happen.
I thank you and as always I welcome your observations and your thoughts. I look forward to seeing you again in week three. Take care and have a great week!
TAKE NOBLE ACTION
- Write down 3 different situations that have already happened and think about what you could have done differently.
- Try not to pre-judge people, stop yourself and keep an open mind when you meet someone new.