Have you ever held on to a thought for years only to discover that what you thought was reality, was in fact something totally not the case! I recall growing up and hearing songs on the radio or listening to an album (that’s vinyl for you young folks). Back then we knew all the lyrics and sang along to all the songs. We just knew we were singing along with our favorite singer. Years later technology becomes advanced and you can pull up the lyrics on the internet. Wait! What?!?! Is that what they were really saying? I “thought” the lyrics were…...! Am I the only one this has happened to!
Our thoughts really do shape who it is that we are, what we believe, and how we operate. I have a saying that I have used through out this journey. Those of you who have been with me for a while, are familiar. The greatest conversation you will ever have is the one that takes place in between your ears, what are you speaking to yourself?
As we embrace this season of dialogue, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to bring our thoughts to the table and gain knowledge and clarity. All of us desire a fulfilled abundant life in which we all truly do flourish! However, our beliefs, which impact our thoughts, can cause us to miss so many wonderful opportunities and relationships. I am often reminded of the movie “Remember the Titans.” So many beliefs, thoughts, stereotypes. Deep seeded beliefs, thoughts, stereotypes that were birthed out of generational fear and hate. As the movie progresses, Denzel Washington forces the Caucasian and African American players to engage with each other. The initial interactions are predictable as each interacts based on what they think of the other. Words are exchanged, tempers flare. A stalemate. A stalemate until 2 players make the difficult journey of overcoming their respective thoughts about each other and open themselves to understanding and embracing the person standing before them. As the two begin a brotherhood bond, they are met with opposition from both sides. At one
point, all they appear to have is each other as their peers reject this unpopular bond. What results is a brotherhood that transcends race. In this season we can all do the same!
I recall one of my first trips to London, England. I was filled with excitement but also apprehension at what I thought I would encounter based on what I read in a book or saw on television or what I was told, based on someone else’s experiences. The trip was a humbling experience. It taught me that how we think of each other, if we are not careful, can cause us to miss out on some beautiful relationships with people who do not look like us. There was a revelation that really caused me to pause. I observed some particular habits of a couple from a different race and religion. Therefore, I assumed that behavior was that of the particular race or religion. Another member of that same race and religion whispered to me “that has nothing to do with our race or religion…. they are just weird!” LoL. That was one of those aha moments for me! How many “things’ do we attach to a particular race or religion based on our limited interaction with them? Only to find that it may just be a personal quirky characteristic of that person, or even family. How many misperceptions are out there about each other? Misperceptions that are already complicating racial and cultural divides.
I would challenge you to seek, learn, and listen. Listening is difficult as we are in such a fast-paced world. Our minds are always racing. Our attention spans are short. We want the other person to hurry up and stop talking so we can say what we have to say because we think what we have to say is more important.
Listening leads to understanding. Understanding leads to constructive dialogue. Constructive dialogue leads to misperceptions and mis understandings being shattered. This can all lead to experiencing a relationship that can be a blessing in our lives.
I am often reminded of my school age years which were largely spent in a predominantly Caucasian environment. There were plenty of unpleasant memories. Name calling. Being shunned because of the color of my skin. Stereotypes being attached that were also hurtful. However, there were also wonderful moments. Moments in which I learned that everyone that does not look like me, is not bad. Amid so many hateful people, there were also so many wonderful people that we call each other “family” to this day. It is often comical to see the expressions of others, who are not aware of the relationship.
We are all what we think we are! How do we affirm our own being so that our thoughts marinate in our spirits and we become so much more than we already are! We become who we desire to be! We flourish! We embrace our authenticity.
There are so many ways we can flourish in our relationships with our brothers and sisters of humanity. We must be open to the change. Change is difficult! So many of us have been raised in a certain manner! It is difficult to unthink what we have been raised to think. However, if we can be open to the possibilities, imagine how our individual worlds could expand. Venturing into the unknown can be a bit unsettling but it is that very space where you may find your greatest victories.
Open yourself to new relationships with people who do not look like you. You may not always agree but try to understand why you have the differences. You may agree to disagree but that is ok. Are you open to different activities? Try a different sport, listen to some different music, try a different food. I have found so many things I like when it comes to other genres of music that are from outside of my cultural experience. The foods! Oh, my goodness! You do not know what you are missing! From Asian, to Middle Eastern, to European, Italian, Latino, Pacific Island. You may even find some similar foods, prepared a different way!
United we stand, divided we fall! We have heard that over the years. There is power in unity. Unity comes when we embrace our differences and find a way to move forward and co-exist with those differences. As the lyrics to a well know song remind us, we can make the world a better place, just you and me.
I am Paula G Voice! I am a sagacious independent lifestyle influencer. I am embracing my own journey and I am sharing a soliloquy of seasons on the journey. I am influencing dreamers to do the same by breathing life into their vison and ultimately living the reality of that vision! It is never too late to embrace your journey and live your dream!