This I Believe

Jesse - Bulan, Kentucky
Entered on March 2, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: tolerance
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You Bet I Believe

I believe in the value of myself as an individual. I have the right to be secure within myself, free from the influence of other people’s judgment without having to justify anything about myself to anyone. I shouldn’t be categorized, generalized or quantified. Don’t put me in a group, in a file or on a list. That’s not who I am. People don’t come stamped with a Dewey Decimal classification so I can’t be labeled. I am not a copy. I am an original.

I am an individual and so are you. We have similarities and differences. If you recognize me at all, don’t point out the ways that I am similar to anyone else. There are enough similarities in people that it becomes easy to organize and arrange us according to those similarities. Don’t do that. That is the lazy way to think. Notice me for those things that make me unique, or don’t notice me at all.

There is enough sameness in the world. An over abundance of sameness actually, a plethora. The world is a veritable cornucopia of similarities. Remade, recycled, repackaged and reintroduced. Everything old is new again. We have gorged ourselves on sameness, we don’t need any more.

To avoid this sameness, every difference doesn’t have to scream at you and grab your attention. It doesn’t have to hold you by the throat and compel you to puzzle over its complexity. Learn to appreciate subtle differences too. Rebel against the attitude that some people approach life with that makes them fear, resent or hate anything that is not the same as what they are used to. Get over the idea that different means bad.

I once knew a man who didn’t want anyone else to eat any food that he didn’t like. It offended him for others to eat food that he wouldn’t eat. I never understood how he could feel that way. He believed that there were three food groups and three spices. The food groups were meat, potatoes and beans and the spices were salt, pepper and grease. Anything else he called “foreign food”. In a world so full of combinations of diversities the narrowness of perspective that we sometimes encounter amazes me.

Don’t be the same, be different. Learn to appreciate the differences in others. Other people, other cultures, other tastes and ideas. If you do you will be amazed by the discoveries you make. About the world and about yourself.