What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

21 July 2016

Uniformity

A few weeks ago, I posted a quote on Facebook from the book Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids, which led to a lively conversation about why people can't just mind their own business on this and other hot-button life choices.

And then my wise friend Keely weighed in:
There is safety in the same...when you or your life is the same as mine you validate my life choices and therefore you are perceived as safe or good. When you are different you are unsafe. So we turn those who are different than us into "others" as we seek to validate ourselves.
Preach, sister.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept that sometimes
I'm going to be a right-side-up bird, the courage to
sometimes be an upside-down one, and the wisdom
to keep singing no matter what way I'm facing.
Image source.
I ran across a similar sentiment while reading The More of Less: "Nobody feels embarrassed for just being normal. It's when we deviate from the norm that we might become embarrassed." And so we self-police, whether or not it's the right thing for ourselves, and maybe that's why it's so easy to see someone else as an "other" to be shamed or avoided--after all, I'm putting in the work to be normal; why can't you?

How sad--and yet how everyday. It's pretty obvious from the nightly news, or even from the average Facebook news feed (if you haven't already turned that into a self-affirming echo chamber, that is; I'm trying not to, but wow, is it hard to keep reading stuff that makes me want to Gibbs-slap my nearest and dearest), how easy it is to get locked into our own ingroups and actively ridicule and avoid anything different.

We've all heard the story about the monkeys in the cage with the bananas out of reach, right? How they got sprayed with water a couple of times in the attempt to reach the bananas, and subsequently wouldn't let any other monkeys try to climb up to get the bananas? Y'all, that's no way to live.

I know; it's hard. It's scary. It's easier to just concentrate my time and energy on people who are already like me instead of putting in the harder work of understanding and accepting that other people don't all have to do what I do to be worth my time and consideration.

As we continue through this season of our world gone mad, it's never been more important to see other people, and see them as people, despite our differences and disagreements. Now is not the time to dig in deeper to our ingroups. Now is the time to open up to others, to listen, to accept that maybe our realities aren't the only ones out there. Now is the time to reject the uniform and embrace the differences. We can do this.

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