On a recent trip to the Cayman Islands a group of us got in taxi and immediately we all noticed that the way folks drive in that country is NOT the way we drive here in the United States. But then someone said something to the effect that they could never get used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road or on the "wrong" side of the car. And I was taken back by that, because I suddenly came to this realization:
Was it indeed the "wrong" side of the road or the car? Or, was it merely a "different" side of the road or car?
There is a difference.
One makes someone doing something the correct and proper way vs. the incorrect way, and the other means it's something unalike or dissimilar.
But if there is a right way and a wrong way, what makes us believe our way is the right way and everyone else is doing it the wrong way?
I know there was no intention of being offensive when this was said, and I am not talking about using politically correct language because I also believe too many of us just look for a reason to be offended.
The BIGGER point I am trying to make is how things might be different if we chose to look at situations, lifestyles, religions, political parties and personal opinions as being "different" instead of being right or wrong.
Another instance took place earlier this summer as I was having a conversation with a woman who is the neighbor of a family from a different country. She believes the way they are raising their children is wrong because it is not the way most of us in this country raise our children. I tried to explain to her, that perhaps it is because they raise children differently in their culture. What is important for raising children in their culture, might be different than what is important for us. No laws are being broken, the children are well cared for, just being raised in a way that is different. She wasn't buying it. To her, they were doing it wrong.
And she isn't the only one who feels this way I'm afraid. But if we would look at things as different than right or wrong, perhaps we then could open up dialogue so that we could understand each other better.
Does it really matter what side of the road we drive on as long as we get safely to our destination?
Does it really mean the foreign mother loves her child less than the American mother?
If we could just focus on that word "different" than right or wrong, I believe we could make great strides in tolerance. Maybe by having honest dialogue with the intention of learning and understanding instead of listening to to find an "in" to respond and prove a point, we could actually learn we are more alike than unalike.
We are just, different.
Don't you think that might make a huge impact in our communities? In this country?
We have this habit of becoming so attached to our labels, ideals, doctrine, and politics that anyone saying or acting in any way other than "our way" is just plain wrong.
That my friends, is how I believe evil is born.
Evil does it's work through our egos.
It's that little voice inside your head (not your heart or soul) that convinces you that you have to take your stand, that you have to be right, that any opinion different than yours is a personal attack.
It wants you to fight, to do whatever you can, say whatever you must say, so that you will be right.
It causes us to do and say, and act in ways that cause so much disruption, unease, and heartache.
Wars, mass shootings, discrimination, personal attacks and bullying are all born from listening to and responding to that little voice called ego.
Ego is a clever little liar.
It doesn't care if you are happy or loving, or compassionate. It just does what it has to do to survive.
The late Dr. Wayne Dyer has a great way to describe ego. He says ego stands for Edging God Out. And I have to say I agree. The true voice of God loves all of us the same, despite our differences.
He loves us all: black, white, Christian, Muslim, Democrat, Republican, straight, gay, man, woman, left road drivers and right road drivers.
So the next time you come in contact with someone that looks differently than you, worships differently than you, loves differently than you, votes differently than you, please realize it is not right or wrong, its just different.
Sherrie Dunlevy is an author, speaker and Inspirationista. For more information, to order her best selling book “How Can I Help?" or to hire Sherrie to speak at your conference, workshop or special event go to www.SherrieDunlevy.com or contact her at SherrieDunlevy@gmail.com