Why do we label others? Why do we choose to be indifferent? Why do we choose to devalue and dehumanize people who espouse a different worldview from ours? Why is it so easy to find other people’s opinions, beliefs and way of life deeply unacceptable, to the point where we are willing to label, offend and harm?
Is it because there is societal consensus that supports our indifference? Is it because we have devolved to allow our fears to control us? What other factors drive the dark, sinister, and self-serving ideology that fosters intolerance? And how do we reconcile our ability to love and hate, trust and betray, and safeguard and preserve life?
For too many, our differences overshadow our similarities. Our individual limitations are scrutinized and our collective strengths are overlooked. Our present struggles are rehearsed and relived while our future promises are reduced to a whispering fantasy. We have taken a punitive stance against those whose values and lifestyles differ from ours, and have pompously declared ourselves to be the measure of all things. We censure every practice and condemn every behavior we determine to be unfavorable to our strongly held ideologies.
It’s time to move away from labels and stop defining people by their limitations and past, and start celebrating people based on their potential and promise.
So what do we need, and what are the solutions to our problems?
I believe that life is more fulfilling when we enter into the sacred space and oneness of each other’s narrative. It is at the intersection of shared experiences that societal bonds of intimacy are strengthened. It’s time to move away from labels and stop defining people by their limitations and past, and start celebrating people based on their potential and promise.
Let us continually remind ourselves that we are members of the human family and were created to live in connectedness with each other and that our continued existence depends on the depth of our social interactions. Let us find the strength to forge and nurture the gifts of relationship, intimacy, inclusion, and love.
When we decide to celebrate each other’s strengths, embrace each other’s brokenness, be present in each other’s lives, and voluntarily surrender our rights to each other; it is only then that we as a society will arrive at a place where we can truly begin to live in health, happiness, and freedom.