You interest me. You fascinate me.
We are the same. We are different. I see some of myself in each of you. Maybe that's why we've connected at some point in our lives, then or now. And today we've reconnected somewhere, maybe even in the social media landscape. I connect with you in my everyday life, on Facebook, Twitter, and even here through my blog.
Whether you actively participate in the conversation or you're okay to just read and observe, we share some interests. But yet we are diverse. And that is good with us both. You don't judge. I like that about you.
You've made my good life richer. You've added another dimension to my very busy, but normal, existence. There's a great chance we don't regularly see each other, if ever, but it's nice to know you're there. I enjoy you.
You care about:
TV. Film. Books. Music. Pop culture.
Religion. Your beliefs. Your faith or lack thereof.
The meaning of life.
Causes that are important to you.
Communities you belong to.
Animals. Those you own. Others you also love or long for.
Sports. Those you watch. Those you participate in.
Vacations. Your favorite go-to place. Your paradise.
Hiking. Adventures. Travel.
Taking time to do the things you enjoy most.
Food. Wine. Beer. Bacon.
Cooking. Great restaurants. The ultimate meal.
Healthy living. All things natural.
Children. Grandchildren. Family. Friends.
Special occasions you're planning.
Your dreams and hopes.
Who and what you want to be.
Your bucket list.
Connecting with others and everyday life.
You care about all of this and so much more.
If you don't see yourself here in this limited list, know that I really do enjoy you and all your diverse passions. You are just so damn interesting, it's hard not to.
|You are colorful.|
Yet you don't judge. You let others be. Always a sign of confidence and strength. You are comfortable in your own skin. I admire and enjoy that about you.
You share both happiness and disappointments, births and deaths. You make me smile. Sometimes you make me cry as my heart aches for any pain you're experiencing. But then you make me chuckle.
And I like it when you make me laugh out loud. My loved ones within earshot will ask me to recount your news and your clever anecdotes. You amuse them also. Why wouldn't you? You are awesome.
So it's no wonder this has been a good experience connecting with you. I enjoy you.
Recently I saw a friend of friends from many years in the past. She casually exchanged news from Facebook with another friend. After we chatted awhile ourselves, I mentioned that I'd look her up on Facebook, thinking it might be fun to get to know her again.
She said sure, but then followed with, "You're not one of those people who posts pictures of their food, are you?"
"Yes, I am. We shouldn't be friends on Facebook then."
Maybe she was shocked at my quick and very blunt response, but if she had no problem sharing her opinion and pre-judging those who share any particular interest, then I had no problem responding as such without hesitation or qualm.
Although I know that I am so much more than any one interest I may have, it was obvious to me that this person would be annoyed and not appreciate seeing me in her news feed when I share with the foodie subculture I love being a part of my passion for food, cooking, and all things Trader Joe's.
I get it if it's not her interest, so I don't want to subject her to that.
At this point in my life, though, I'm also more comfortable looking out for my own interests, so I'm not okay with being judged, allowing myself to feel inadequate, or feeling the need to defend who I am or what I believe in.
So at the end of the night, we hugged and said our goodbyes, commenting that it was nice to see each other again. All was good with how we left things.
Of course, this interaction made me think about who we each connect with and why. Do we necessarily need to share the same interests to get along, to live in so-called peace and harmony?
No, I don't think so. It seems to me that the heart of any connection and harmony is tolerance.
Tolerance. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.
Do I agree with everyone I come in contact with? With everyone and everything said on Twitter or in my Facebook newsfeed?
Do I respect their opinions, passions, and interests, even when they conflict at times with my own?
Just having celebrated July 4th in the United States of America, don't we all have an obligation to uphold the dreams and pursuits of our forefathers? Wasn't tolerance of each individual's beliefs and the freedom to practice said beliefs the ideal they were willing to fight for in the American Revolutionary War?
If today we can't tolerate diversity in thought and practice, if we don't want to be exposed to something that is different from the way we think, then we can choose to turn away, to not participate.
On social networking sites, if we don't want to see someone's pictures from a vacation or a good meal, or read someone's passionate post about politics, religion, what they did today, or even their hobby that we're really not interested in, then we shouldn't look. Or maybe we shouldn't be "friends," if we have no mutual interests or, at least, a mutual respect.
If we turn away from those who are different from us too frequently, though, it may be that we're stunting an opportunity for introspection and self-growth. It seems there's no good reason to let someone else's opinions threaten who we are and what we believe in. Who knows? We may be surprised to find some common ground. If not, we can always agree to disagree.
At the end of the day, I am grateful to be free to enjoy you and all your diverse beliefs (thank you, founding fathers!). I appreciate what we share in common and am quite content to tolerate what I may not always agree with or understand. It seems we can't go wrong when we treat each other the way we want to be treated. With respect and tolerance.
Less judgement. More tolerance.
One year ago this past July 4th I started out on this blogging adventure, not totally sure where it would take me. I still don't have all the answers, but I do know that I wish I had more time to write.
This experience has been so much more than I had ever imagined. I'm happy to share here with you and I hope you enjoy that I do.
Thanks for reading! Although it's nice to know you're there, I'm always interested to hear your point of view and turn this into more of a conversation.
I enjoy you. Really, I do.
Until next time, yours in growth and tolerance...Therese