We humans must be hard-wired to notice differences of those who (look, sound, dress, worship or not, smell, sup) differently. You know, someone who isn’t just like us. We look for what we have in common by default.
I have to think that this particular function of our human nature is due to some deeply seated sociological paradigm. Or maybe it’s a defense mechanism or safety issue. It must be hardwired because just look around.
If that’s the case, is it any wonder that our differences are so easily exploitable?
Physically we are different. Size, gender, race.
We might not speak the same language. If we do speak the same language our dialects may soon highlight a cultural or geographical difference before our conversation is over.
Politics and religion? Very well could be not-in-common. And everyone knows to avoid those topics at every Thanksgiving dinner table.
We humans tend to divide ourselves into “us” and “them” rather than consider our differences as being essential to a beautiful kaleidoscope of humanity. Essential.
Kids Learn the Lines of Division Drawn Early
Our world is fraught with division down to the lines drawn in the sand in the sandbox of the little kiddos. Children learn a great deal from listening and watching the adults in their lives so it’s up to us to teach by example what we all have in common.
A helpful way to begin understanding one another is to start with familiar common experiences. Our stories.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Our stories-in-common are seeds, that when sown, grow understanding, empathy and feelings of care and friendship between strangers….. no matter where we come from.” quote=”Our stories-in-common are seeds, that when sown, grow understanding and empathy and feelings of care and friendship between strangers….. no matter where we come from.”]
universal human experiences are what we have in common
Everyone has stories. Family stories, work stories, tales from the neighborhood. Memories from school years and grandparents. Your stories might be similar or very different. As we share our stories we find that we have overlap, or shared life experiences.
our stories-in-common provide connection to others
- are seeds that can grow understanding, empathy, care and friendship.
- help us remember experiences and are a place to pass on our values and memories.
- help us as individuals move on with hope.
- have potential to build bridges if we let them.
How is this related to living as a deliberate creative?
A deliberate creative in heart is someone who
actively seeks new ways to understand the world,
seeks to expand their point of view,
who looks at both sides of the coin.
Turn the Always Ship Around
What’s the worst thing that can happen if we just look at something another way. (Which usually requires listening more than talking and checking the jutted out chin at the door.)
It’s so easy to dismiss new ideas and different ways of thinking. We like to have things the way they’ve always been. It’s just easier to think the way we’ve always thought…….
I do my best to recognize when new ideas hide in a cloud of “I always” or “I never”, or “my dad says”, or “my husband agrees”. Sadly, sometimes it’s “at my age”…. you get the drift. Recognize then stop.
Sometimes it just feels like too much trouble to start unravelling the ideas that no longer serve well. Oh my gosh, hasn’t every one of us dug in their heels in spates of self-righteousness? One side against the other, I’m right and you are wrong.
Because process of changing one’s mind, one’s heart, one’s cornerstone (that really isn’t a cornerstone at all) is not easy.
Or a train to change your mind
The character played by Bradley Cooper, Jackson Maine, in the new “A Star is Born” sings a great line. …”It takes … a train to change your mind”.
I knew that part of my life’s journey needed to be opening my heart to new ideas. Sometimes just have to let the old ways die in order to grow in heart.
When someone is different than me, we can meet where our stories meet.