My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that's different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses 'below' you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home. Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by. Reach your arm out and put it around them. And then, tell them they're all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you love them. If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that's where we're gonna be able to do it. That's where we'll start. Every. Single. Time.
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Don't we get it? To put our arm around someone who is gay, someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be... doing that has nothing to do with enabling them or accepting what they do as okay by us. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right. It has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend.
The more you put your arm around those that you might naturally look down on, the more you will love yourself. And the more you love yourself, the less need you'll ever have to find fault or be better than others. And the less we all find fault or have a need to be better than others, the quicker this world becomes a far better place to live.
I have known a lot of people in my life, and I can tell you this... Some of the ones who understood love better than anyone else were those who the rest of the world had long before measured as lost or gone. Some of the people who were able to look at the dirtiest, the poorest, the gays, the straights, the drug users, those in recovery, the basest of sinners, and those who were just... plain... different. They were able to look at them all and only see strength. Beauty. Potential. Hope. And if we boil it down, isn't that what love actually is?
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The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn't tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the 'trailer trash,' those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn't tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers' ex lovers, or our ex-lovers' lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn't it? Love others. Period.
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Having a religion doesn't make a person love or not love others. It doesn't make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn't make a person befriend or not befriend others. Being without a religion doesn't make somebody do or be any of that either. No, what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others. Nothing else.
I promise you it doesn't matter what you believe, how strongly you live your beliefs, or how true your beliefs are. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you are in the wrong. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks your beliefs are senseless or illogical. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you have it all wrong. In fact, there are a lot of people in this world who do.
Everything we think we know, everything we think we see, everything we believe we feel, taste, smell, or hear, everything we 'remember' (our pasts), everything we want to happen (our futures), everything that has ever existed or will ever exist, only exists right now. All of these things are nothing more than electric signals being passed through our brains and bodies, right now. It is all energy flowing through us right now. 'The past' exists only in our minds. We are the ones who bring it into reality. We are the ones who bring it into the present. We are the ones who make it 'real'.
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The world population is nearing seven billion. John Travolta and Farrah Fawcett didn't procreate and produce all seven thousand million of us. Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster didn't personally populate the world. Almost every child that was ever born is the byproduct of two everyday people who found each other attractive enough to go jump in the sack together. Almost every child that was ever born came about because two everyday people thought the other was attractive enough to warrant a second glance. If you want proof that attraction belongs to the individual, go sit on a bench at the mall and look at all the different couples walking by. You will believe that there literally is someone for everyone.
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Smile at people everywhere you go. Don't just give them one of those half-smirk/head nod things. Raise your eyebrows, show those teeth, and chuckle while you smile. Next time you're at the store, give a full-hearted smile to at least three complete strangers. You'll be amazed at what this does for them and for you.
When you do talk to people, share what you are. Stop focusing on all the things that you aren't. Stop focusing on all of the physical features that you think people won't like about you. Stop focusing on your inabilities or lack of talent. Instead, focus on those physical features that you know people already love about you. Focus on your abilities and the talents that you do have. You have been blessed with all of the above, and that makes you worth getting to know in my book.
For twenty-one years, I have been paralyzed by the fear of what this society will do with me if they ever were to know of the thoughts that I continually push away. For more than two decades, I have made a choice to be straight. After all, it's as easy as making a choice, isn't it? This culture has made sure that I know that. Anyone who is anything other than straight was just someone deceived by the devil. He is unnatural. He is confused. He is mistaken. He is weak. He can control it if he desires to control it. Such a compelling and ongoing argument has been made that I have always trusted it. I believed that if I hid it long enough, and ran from it long enough, and refused to acknowledge it for long enough, I could indeed succeed at living up to their decrees. I believed that I could force myself to never be anything else.
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Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It'll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called "perfection, " which will open the doors to the most important relationships you'll ever be a part of.
When I date women now, I have learned to simply not care what they think about it. I'm the same person I always have been. Faithful. Dependable. Kind. Sweet. Funny. Awesome. And if they want to discount me because of something as insignificant and irrelevant as me experiencing attraction to men as well, then they don't get me in their lives. They don't deserve me.