On the 17th of June 1962 I was born. A few miles away in another hospital bed my mother’s sister gave birth on the same day to a daughter, my cousin.
As the years developed this little girl was unlike anyone else I’d ever known. If someone told here she couldn’t do something, she tried so hard to prove them wrong over and over again. When I was down, she always knew and gave me the best hugs anyone could ever give. She would always be the first to call to say happy birthday, or just ‘hi how are you’. Although the world told me she was different and her life would forever be a million times harder than mine, I tried to believe they were wrong. This year we will both be 50, and her courage and determination to lead as a normal life as possible has been just unbelievable. She wasn’t breathing when she was born and by the time they got her breathing her brain was affected and other complications over time developed. Yet she is a remarkable lady and although I now rarely see her I have always been very proud of her.
Yesterday I was privileged to be able to host here at Healthy Lifestyles Living a blog post by Mary Hudak-Collins titled ‘Why do you treat me differently’. Today I’m standing on my soap box because it touched a nerve, as I hope it did for many of those that read it.
I cannot tolerate racism (after all I was born Jewish, and experienced it a lot), sexism and many other types of prejudices, including those against people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Everyone deserves just as much respect as anyone else. As all men are created equal, why do people treat each other so badly?
“Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self”. Dogen
If I could change one thing in the world, it would be how society treats people who are different.
Society treats and judges people by the way they look, sometimes they judge you by the way you sound, the way you move, by the clothes you wear, the religion you follow and now it seems also by what we can or can’t eat . And this drives me mad! People just don’t bother taking the time to get to know others before they make a judgement. And often as in the case of the situation explained to us yesterday, they base it on a lack of knowledge and lack of understanding. In Michaela’s case a little girl is being hurt, for no fault of her own, for something she has no control over, and it’s wrong, very wrong. She deserves better. But way too many people out there are suffering and are facing intolerable behaviour from others.
If each of us, tried to be more caring, made a concerted effort to treat people with respect, we would make this world a much nicer place to live in.
You know what’s so crazy, the fact that it would be so easy – all you have to do is treat people the way you like to have them treat you. Here are a few examples.
- Don’t offend people or make fun of them.
- Listen to what others have to say.
- Value other people’s opinions.
- Be considerate of other people’s likes and dislikes.
- Don’t tease others.
- Don’t talk about others behind their backs.
- Be caring about other people’s feelings.
- Don’t make anyone do anything they doesn’t want to do.
We live in a diverse world. That makes it interesting. We are all unique. If only we could get along better with each other and show more respect to each other, things would be so better for all of us.
Yes we will meet people that are different to us, and what a wonderful opportunity that brings to learn things new. As a blogger I meet people from different continents, cultures, religions, and that is part of the fascination.
- I always learn something new from them
- Discover fascinating differences in our ways of life
- Making friends with people totally different to me
This has come about by
- Never stereotyping anybody because I learnt long ago everyone is unique.
- Always showing interest in them as individuals
- Try to make time for everybody I come into contact with
So what if we are each different in our own ways? How boring things would be if we were all the same.
To me this world we live in would be far a better place if we learn to treat others the way we want to be treated. And respect them for who they are.
But when we don’t, when we treat another badly, do we ever think about the possible results. How often do we blindly move forward in our lives without thinking about the consequences that our actions may have on others?
How good would you feel about yourself if you knew your behaviour towards another was making them feel unwanted, making them feel as though they didn’t fit, pushing them into the life of an outcast.
Maybe you haven’t even troubled yourself to let yourself think about how your actions could be inadvertently impacting others. Well let me tell you something, and I would ask you to think about it, then pass the message on to others:
If every decision you made and every action you took, you deliberately avoided harming another human being, you would be making the world a better place. And if you taught 10 other people to do the same, how long would it be before our world became a better place to live FOR EVERYBODY!
Change must start somewhere, let it start with you. Start practicing love, kindness, charity, honesty, humility and acceptance.
Never forget the Golden Rule of reciprocity that states:
- One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
- One should treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.
Be humble. Bear in mind that you are not “better” than someone else. You’re an individual, different, but neither better nor worse. Everybody is equal. By bringing positivity and brightness into the lives of others you are contributing magic to the world.
“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne”. Marcus Aurelius
To conclude for today I want to just bring my thoughts back to Mary. Getting to know her both in direct contact and from being a regular reader of her blog I have come to realise that having a child with allergies puts a strain on the entire family in so many ways. But to find that the child has to content with exclusion is so sad. In this particular situation it does seem so clear that this is caused by fears fed by ignorance. In my mind something needs to be done about it and quickly so children with allergies are not excluded. Knowledge and understanding can transform the life of an allergic child and their family, and this lady and her gorgeous daughter they deserve better than they’re getting. Please, I beseech you give Michaela, and other kids just like her, a chance. In fact give anybody different to you a chance, and help make the world a better place.
I rarely ask my readers to SHARE my articles, but today that is what i request of you. Also please comment and share your views on this very important subject
Score Your Way To Good Health - With Our Healthy Lifestyle Plan
Score your way to good health with our healthy lifestyle plan and it's unique 70 point weekly scorecard!
You did good Larry, this post made me very proud. I always enjoy your posts and you are passionate about what you do but this one is something different there’s a passion that we haven’t seen before. Being able to change just one thing is really difficult to actually find just one specific and I totally agree with what you’ve spoken about here but for me if there was one thing I could change it would not just be about how society treats people who are different I would change ‘unnecessary suffering’. From whether it’s full out war or the ridiculousness of a bar brawl, a person who has prolonged suffering through disease, where treatment is not available to them or too costly, someone who is being bullied or harassed, or for those with broken families and deep seated trauma right through cruelty to children and animals, and down to the loss of a loved one. My one wish would be that the factors that cause it would not happen and no one would ever need to endure the pain, heartache and long term damage that ‘unnecessary suffering’ causes no matter what form it comes in. Like yours it’s a long way off to being a reality, and for some of it, it could never happen there will always be disease but maybe cures will come and be available, maybe if people thought and cared more then we’d be a long way to being able to achieve a better world for us to live in. Maybe one day…
SJ as ever you leave me speechless. We in our small way do have the power to make the world a better place. To help others move from despair to happiness. Blogging gives us the medium to make the difference. And you have an extra power through the lens that you use so magnificently.
Nice post Larry.
If I could change one thing it would be making people have more faith in themselves and their own natural abilities.
Well said John, one of the keys to change, is to believe in ourselves. And i know that people like you and i will give everything we have to help others find that belief within themselves.
You are a very sensitive man Larry and your post reflects just that. Reading Mary’s post yesterday really touched me deeply. I wish people would be more kinder and sensitive. Am sharing this post on FB and tweeting too.
Shhhhhhh Rimly don’t be telling others that i have a sensitive side. I’d rather say, i’m a big strong guy that likes to protect others. But with out a doubt Mary’s story foir along time has hit me, and with my cousin i have always felt that it important to make people realise how their actions can be so cruel and try to wake them up to that fact. The world would be such a better place if we were caring to everytbody no matter our differences.
Coming from the background I have I can tell you I know what it is like to be an outcast..to be looked at like I have 2 heads…..I can also say because of my experiences..my heart is big and i feel for others….I also know Michaela personally…I have spent close time with her…and that child is beautiful..though i knew of her challenges..it made o difference with my interaction with her..I loved her hugs and the conversations we had…I hate that some ignorant people see her as different…and shun her..it makes me so mad…..if they only took the time to be with her and get to know her they would come to love a beautiful young lady…….I love you Michaela……As always…XOXOOXOXOXOX
Bonnie, I know that Michaela enjoyed every minute of the time she spent with you, especially when you let her braid your hair LOL.
Bongo, for once i will add nothing to your words. You say it all. ps we love you too Bongo
Ignorance, stereotypes, assumptions, generalizations-these are all bottle necks to inclusion and embracing differences. Lovely post Larry. Both yours and Mary’s posts are important reminders of the need for sensitivity and appreciation, which comes from reaching ou and, understanding.the other person.
reaching out and understanding the other person – awesome words, and amazing insight sukanya, thank you
Larry, this is a tough one. If I could change just one thing….right now I would have to say that I would like to change the time. What I mean by that, is that I would like to jump ahead in time about 7 or 8 years so that all of what we are going through right now would be behind us. And everything we are getting ready to venture onto would already be in action and established 🙂
Mary, Mary, Mary …. jumping ahead 8 years … to avoid what you fear, the dread, the worries you foreesee, well what if the next 8 years is filled with joy, excitement, happiness … MIRACLES abound … and alas you miss out on them all. The law of attraction says, what we see is what we get. I see your life getting better and better, join me in that vision, in all of its aspects.
Jesus told us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This is exactly what we should be doing in our lives. We do need to be humble and realize that all of us have imperfections. Why should we be afraid of the imperfections in others and treat them poorly because of it?
Larry, I will share this on Facebook. Following on the heels of Mary’s guestpost yesterday, it fits perfectly with her message.
The world would be such a better place if we always loved our neighbors as ourselves . . .
Blessings to you!
Sat reading this comment for a little while …. WOW! i am going to message you privately.
WoW, Larry, you are obviously passionate about this subject. I admire the emotional and other support you are giving to Mary and her family. I want them to experience the best life has to offer, also.
For the record, I must say that I do not believe all people are created equally, although I certainly believe they are entitled to equal rights. You said in your post several times how different people are. If you say, “All people are equally valuable,” then I would agree with that. But, everyone does not have equal talents, skills, intelligence, emotional stability, etc.
Because people are so different from each other, I also disagree that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. Someone else may not want to be treated the way I want to be treated, because we are not ‘equal’. For example, I often ‘offend’ people, as you state above I should not do, and I believe it is a loving thing to do under the right circumstances — Truth sometimes offends.
I’m concerned about bullying and alienation of young people. But, I’m also concerned that we are sending young people the message that the world or other people ‘owe’ them this or that treatment. We are teaching a whole generation of kids that they have no control over their own lives, and they are merely victims of what goes on around them. This is a tragedy!
If I could change anything in the world I would teach and convince people that they truly create their own realities with their own minds. That is real power!
As always Linda your words are enticing, interesting and thought provoking. I am going to try and respond in one lol. I think when we arrive here we have neither our hands nor legs tied. We are free to be, do, have whatever we set our hearts and minds on. Many of the greatest success stories have their roots in complete poverty. Life is what we make of it. Nobody will live it for us. If we determine that we want to make something of our lives, and that we will overcome all the obstacles that will be thrown in our paths, then we can succeed. Only we have control over ourselves, and only we are to blame if we fail. This post has one significant addition, when we are ladden with a difficulty that makes us ‘different’ my issue is that to many people in society have the tendency to react towards these people in an uterly dismissive way.
Good post, Larry.
Thank you so much JR
If it’s one thing I genuinely love, it’s to see passion within… I’ve seen it in this post… If I could change just one thing today, it would be to alter accordingly the amount of Testosterone in each and every living-being on this our beautiful planet… I’d then feel confident that the World would be a much nicer place, living with calmer individuals who would hopefully care more. 🙂
Jane thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Being January, and part owner of a fitness gym, i have been needed to put in a few hours due to the massive increase in usage during this month. With a decrease in testerone levels i could stay as a full time blogger … roll on february
I have spent the last twenty years working with people who are “different” it has and still is a privillage great post sir Larry.
Charles, i would be interested in READING more about that. Do you have a blog where perhaps you could write the confessions of a …. or a title far more suited
Larry your passion and your wonderful heart came shining through in this post. If there’s one thing I would change in this world is the fact that we feel we need to be accepted…If only each of us was born with an ability to be ourselves no matter what other people said or did……But that’s a fantasy…In the meanwhile, it’s up to us to train ourselves and our children to know that every one is different and no one is better than the other….Thank you for sharing this, Larry ♥
“If only each of us was born with an ability to be ourselves no matter what other people said or did” am i doing that post or are you Corinne
Larry, your post is straight from the heart and it moves us, the readers. Mary is a great mother and is amazing with her daughter. Why are people so mean to those who are different? Is it because they think they are perfect and there is no room for imperfection in their world? Narrow mindedness and small thinking it is. I would like the motto, Live and let live, being practiced in the world. Great post…
Sulekha absolutely amazing comment. This post was definetely one from the heart, as i read Mary’s the words just came pouring out, i had to stop what i was doing and just type it up. Reading your comment again, brilliant!!!!
I can see both sides of the coin because of life experiences, and by coming upon people that deserved some one on their side for a while. It has all be said in your comments, a lot of kind, unselfish, caring, people are following you, how pleased you must be to have surrounded yourself with this caliber of like minded wonderful people! This world will certainly have a better chance of getting better with you and your followers connecting together! Keep on keepin’ on,all of you! Thanks to all!