We are at a turning point in our world. The challenge to embrace difference is crucial for a rebirth of consciousness worldwide. Honoring difference begins by understanding and accepting our unique differences. If we are to create positive change and make a difference in the world, we need to start with ourselves. How different the world would be if everyone respected the simple truth that the only thing we all have in common is the fact that each of us is uniquely different. We’re all snowflakes.
There is a core memory in the depth of our consciousness that if you aren’t like the rest of the tribe, you may be expelled from the tribe. Hundreds of years ago that would surely mean death to be kicked out of your tribe. We learn never to rock the boat, to fit in and conform at all costs. However, that was hundreds of years ago, but our brains are still wired to fit in. Our world has changed and we no longer threatened by death if we are different at least in this country. Yet many of us still act as if they are.
It takes a person of tremendous courage to stand up and express their uniqueness in the world. Instead of criticizing people who do this we should honor and deeply respect them. Even if the difference they express we don’t personally agree upon.
When our ego encounters difference, we either elevate it to a position of superiority, or we diminish it to a position of inferiority. We think we are either “better than” or “less than,” rather than merely different. The ego loves to categorize things as friend or enemy, either right or wrong and there isn’t much room for the in-between.
Challenge yourself to consciously let go of your judgments and begin to change your preconceived ideas so that the goodness and beauty of difference can prevail. What I love most about living in California is that the majority of people here, not only respect difference, they CELEBRATE IT!
Being different is the one thing we all have in common.
There are hundreds of different languages in our world. Which one is better? They are merely different forms of communication that benefit different societies and cultures. Languages are unique, and none are superior to another. When you can feel the same way for all people who are different from you, then you have truly evolved.
To honor difference, we must be aware of our commonality. To feel the value of our uniqueness, we must also understand and experience our sameness. We have both qualities within us.
Everyone felt the pain of being different in their childhood. It is a part of your spiritual journey. We are all made of the same Divine substance, Soul, and Spirit, but we express ourselves differently, to learn and grow. Even identical twins have different perceptions of their past. If everyone had a different history, then how do we relate to each other? The answer is found within our emotional natures.
Emotionally everyone has felt pain, loneliness, love, joy, and peace. Our emotions unify our differences. Because we know what it feels like to be hurt, we can easily relate to others’ pain. Emotion is the universal communication that unites us while still honoring our differences. Love is the greatest unifier of all -- a spiritual love that seeks to be understanding more than being understood is needed to allow difference.
Owning the uniqueness of yourself and others will create a feeling of appreciation and value. Focusing on value versus “better or less than” begins to build the dignity of difference. Search to find the value of different people and cultures rather than blindly judging them. Look for the truth that unifies difference.
Spiritual arrogance is perhaps the most destructive force in the world. My God is better than your God. Thus I have the authority to kill you if dare to think differently than I do. This has been the source of every war between nations throughout history. Ironically, we all come from the Divine.
Another paradox to face when resolving the dignity of difference is to reflect on how feeling different is both a source of pain and a source of power. Rejecting your difference or accepting it leads to pain or power. Go deep inside yourself and explore the depth of your difference. Write about it. Start with your childhood and then work your way to the present. How do you feel different today? Have you been able to transform the feeling of being different into a positive and empowering experience? Explore your feelings from all levels physical, sexual, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
God has created us unique and the same. We share the same source with others, the water that makes up every snowflake. These opposing forces challenge us to either resolve this paradox by adding love and understanding, or ignore them and remain in our self created prisons of pain.
To make a difference, we must embrace our uniqueness and heal the fear and pain of being different. All great leaders who have made an enormous impact in the world chose to support and value their difference.
It is time for each of us to face our fears and to accept and value difference. Perhaps this is the essence of unconditional love, Divine love: Choosing to Support, Honor, Accept, Respect and Experience (S.H.A.R.E.) the beauty and power of difference. The common challenge to all of our destinies is the need to embrace our differences and to share them with others. It is only through being different that we can honestly make a difference in the world.