This post isn’t so much about body-issues or self-esteem, but more about those five second snap judgements we place on people that can get mired and stuck in our subconscious and how easy it is to stick with that perceived ideal.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how humans identify and observe each other, what little flaw or trait can make or break the deal on friendship, acquaintances and even love. Everyone has that internal checklist that goes ping ping ping when you meet someone for the first time, but a lot of the time you encounter stories about that woman shopping in the high-street supermarket and she is approached by a big beardy man; her initial reaction is to cower and be stand-offish, but then he smiles at her and offers to reach down that can of butterbeans that she can’t quite grab and they strike up a conversation- and hey, would you know it, they share a mutual adoration for Bengal cats and jazz fusion. You never know someone until you walk in their skin, and relive their memories and the experiences that shape them.
Point being, people are so caught up in appearances and stereotypes, they see the outside and more often than not forgets that we are more complex than that with many fascinating layers. There is a whole world out there full of diverse, interesting and intriguing people. Talk to them. Listen to their stories, laugh and cry with them. Don’t dismiss them just because they have a face full of piercings or bleached hair and a tango tan. Each person is unique with their own thoughts and ideals.
I spent the morning trawling through the internet and I found some inspiring stories and quotes of people that looked beyond the appearance of others and saw frailty, vulnerability and above all else, compassion. The world would be a beautiful and more acceptable place to live in if we could remove our prejudices and values, and try to view things from another’s perspective.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” — Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
This story below by far demonstrates how easy it is to pigeonhole someone based on our narrow perception of the world, and why it is important to take a step back and have a little bit more empathy and understanding…
“To the family in the red SUV at Tim Horton’s today; yes, I am a big, 230-pound guy with motorcycles and full of tattoos. I am loud, I drink coke and I look like I would eat your soul if you stare at me wrong…
What you don’t know is that I have been happily married and my 30-year-old kids call me Dad. I am a college graduate, my mother is proud of me and tells everyone how lucky she is to have such a wonderful son.
My nieces and nephews are always happy to see their Uncle Rocky. When my boys broke their bones, I cried more than they did. I read books, I help people, I go out of my way to thank war veterans and I even cried at Armageddon and Schindler’s List.
So next time I smile and say hi to your little girl and you grab her and tell her ‘No, no, dear, we don’t talk to dirty bikers,’ remember that even though you hurt my feelings, this ‘dirty biker’ would be the first person to run into your burning house to save your little girl – and her goldfish, so she wouldn’t be sad!”
So go forth lovely readers; talk to your neighbours, ask questions and delve in deep. Tell people about yourself, your passions and dreams, why you enjoy cheese and marmite on toast. Let’s make the world a universal community, remove the lines and understand that we’re not going to get out alive so always have an open mind, your brain isn’t going to fall out 😉
Please feel free to share your own stories in the comment thread, we would love to read them!