I think it’s absolutely amazing how differently wired we all are. Our tolerances, values, weaknesses, strengths… everyone is 100% unique. And even when we relate to one another on a large scale, we still harbor vast differences on small details.
It’s fascinating and empowering and isolating and frustrating- but it’s life. And I believe that life takes all kinds of kinds to work.
My mom has a heart for other people. She is so patient with older folks and weak or sick people. She can both correct and calm a child all at once. (She’s a first grade teacher.) None of those things come naturally to me.
On our recent flight there was a young guy who was drunk as a skunk sitting behind me. He even said so- plus a few f-words. An older women- who had a seat in the “extra leg room aisle”- whom I only know as Stella, swapped seats with his original seat partner to allow that woman a seat next to her husband. I don’t think Stella knew this guy was drunk before she swapped, but she made conversation with him the whole time and even did a crossword with him. She essentially babysat him. When the flight attendant told Stella that she owed her a drink Stella laughed and said, “Oh I don’t drink.” I later heard her talk about leaving the airport quickly so she could get to church on time. I am convinced Stella IS a saint. All the travelers around this unlikely pair showered Stella in compliments once the flight was over and Drunk Skunk was out of earshot. Again, I don’t have it in me to do that. Not even a little bit.
My compassion runs deep for animals. I have compassion for humans, but it doesn’t come as naturally. And I think that’s ok because it takes all kinds of compassion to make a difference. I will pull my car over every single time to help a lost dog find his or her way home.
Emotions effect us differently, too. I am strongly controlled by fear. Some people can brush it off or enjoy the adrenaline rush, but it paralyses me. That said, panic is not something that affects me strongly. I remain scarily calm in high stress situations (like the car accident I helped with 2 weeks ago). Everyone is different and THANK GOD that we are.
I have 0 tolerance for violence. I can’t watch it. I can’t stand any entertainment to include rape or assault. I used to love Law & Order: SVU but just last week K was telling me about a show he watched and he mentioned a rape scene and I wanted to throw up. I don’t condemn people who watch shows or movies like that because I know there’s more good entertainment then bad, but I don’t have the ability to get through it or enjoy it.
I’ve seen the quotes about not judging other because we don’t know what they’ve been through or what kind of day they’re having or what lies below the tip of their iceberg. And I completely agree with that.
But it’s important to remember that we all process and handle our situations differently. We experience the exact same event differently than the person standing next to us. We process different amounts & different feelings, and we’re affected in completely different ways. And that’s so amazing, but also a tough lesson to remember.
It’s an important lesson, though. And I think it also helps us to accept ourselves (and our loved ones) in a clearer light. We don’t have to love, like, care about, etc. what everyone else does. And we can be affected different by our emotions (fear, sadness, anger, disappointment) and know that there is nothing wrong with us.
It takes all kinds of kinds to navigate and survive this world. And your kind is just the right kind.
20 Comments Add yours
Another wonderful, insightful post. You have such a way with words. If we were all passionate about the same things who would worry about the other things? We need all sorts to make a balanced world. However, it would be nice if the one thing everybody had in common was being tolerant of our differences.
I have a coaster inspired by a quote from Fantastic Mr Fox: “We are all different, but there’s something kind of fantastic about that”. That seems fitting here.
Thanks, Bev 😊 That’s super sweet of you to say!
You’re so right! And tolerance is a tough lesson. I mean, I’m not tolerant of everything (racism, sexism, etc.) but I definitely know that people are fighting other causes with as much passion as I fight for mine. Which is great!
Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my hands-down favorite movies!
Lovely post – Stella sounds like an amazing and patient woman.
Thank you! And in those 2 hours she had more patience than I’ve had in my life. LOL
Stella is a hero! What a beautiful example for us all.
I think I understand where you are coming from in this post. I’ve noticed that as I experience more things in life I have deeper empathy and really try to see past the tip of the iceberg with people. I used to be quite judgy, but it was because I didn’t understand why people did what they did. It took awhile to make the connection that not everyone was raised like me. Trying to understand people is a heck of a challenge though!!
A true hero! (As is the flight attendant who limited his on-board liquor, LOL.)
Accepting and understanding others is definitely a life long lesson, I think. I’m not great at it and it’s taken time and experience to realize that there’s a million things that make us behave and react and feel the way we do…… so when I judge someone in a split second I’m definitely not getting the whole story. But in the moment it’s pretty easy for me to forget that.
Stella is a saint, I would not have that in me either. I have boundless compassion for animals, but towards humans it is almost 0. I am who I am.
Hahahaha. Yeah. I was incredibly annoyed with the Drunk Skunk behind us but Stella was making me laugh. She showed more patience in 2 hours than I have in my life. Lol
Compassion toward animals comes so, so easy. Humans are much messier and ickier. Ha.
Beautiful post, and really well-written. I definitely agree. Everyone has a place and the world needs all kinds of people. I’m not always the best with people either, but I love animals. I’m extremely empathetic though, and I’m super sensitive/emotional. I sometimes hate this, but I also think it can be a really good thing.
Thank you! I think it’s funny and special how things affect us differently. And how much control we have of that is unique, too. My heart cries out for injured animals or lost animals but I have to remind myself to show patience and kindness when dealing with humans 😉 And so many commercials make me cry- both about humans and animals. Walking in cities is the worst because the homeless population gets me every time. It’s rough to fine tune our empathy.
I think it totally takes different Stella’s of the world to make things come together. Animals need the ones who will sit up at nights & find a home for a homeless fur baby… & there needs to be people that can sit in Hospice units & care for the ones suffering & the ones who can run into a fire … we all have our gifts, right? We just all need to USE them 🙂
Love this post.
Yes, yes, yes. You put it perfectly 🙂 I’m amazed by the grace and patience and compassion people have when I am severely lacking.
So stinkin’ true and such a good reminder. Like you, I have compassion for people, but much more for animals. I will cry over animals way more than I will cry over people. I think it’s because animals can be really helpless and they’re obviously voiceless, so I really feel for them. We, as people, are responsible for how they are treated.
I agree. I find that it’s much easier to side with the underdog or the voiceless or the abused… but I’m reminded that strong and stable people need fighters in their corners as well. It’s definitely a tough world to navigate but being tolerant and accepting of one another’s difference makes all the difference, I think.
Great post, Audrey! We are all so different, which is something we should truly marvel over and appreciate! How boring would this world be if we were all sheep? And a big ‘ol YES that we can experience the exact same thing but have a different reaction to it. There is no one way or right way to experience something. A good reminder for us all because I have definitely been guilty of judging people for having a different reaction to something than me. And sometimes, in fairness, their response tells me a lot about who they are too.
I can’t take relentless violence, especially against children. Or when there is too much reveling in the violence. But as you know, I’m a huge fan of mysteries so something bad has to happen, but if you look closer at the typical books I read, the bad guys almost always kicked their asses kicked. I find great satisfaction in that. Also with you 100% on the animals. Kill people in movies? Fine. Kill an animal? Oh, Hell no. I will smile at every dog I see being walked but not at the human walking them. 😀
I don’t think anything would get done and there’d be a lot of neglect (& boringness) in the world if we all gravitated and cared strongly about the same things. Or we’d all just be burnt out zombies. Yikes. I find that I react to lots of things differently. Sometimes something will bring me to tears while others stand stone faced. Other times I will laugh off something that enraged those around me. It’s definitely weird how we all process it differently.
I 100% need to see the bad guy get what’s coming to him or her in the end… otherwise I’m FURIOUS about it for hours or days. And my compassion for animals runs so deep it annoys me sometimes. Haha. I have been late to meetings, classes, and parties before because I pulled over to get an animal home. LOL
So deep and so well-written!!! I’ve had to let go of a lot of issues that I KNOW are important but I can’t carry a torch for them allllll, while my younger sister feels super passionately about some of those things I’ve had to let go of. When I talk to her, I used to feel guilty that I wasn’t still more involved in different causes or staying updated on them. But I eventually had to come to the same conclusion as your post so eloquently described. It takes all kinds of people to care about all kinds of issues. One person cannot do it all!
One person definitely can’t do it all. And just supporting and having that deep level of respect for your sister goes a long way toward her causes! Even if you’re not actively out there protesting and writing letters and speaking out with her. I’m sure she really appreciates your love and the energies you direct toward your own passions! We’d be burnt out in a week if we tried to carry all the torches 😉
Lovely post. My grandmother used to say “its takes all kinds to make the world spin” and this legit made me so nostalgic for her. I am both an animal and people person. More specifically though, any animal or any person thats an underdog has me in their corner. I know not everyone is like that but I am. I don’t feel the same love for pedigree dogs as I felt for my 13 rescued mutts growing up (we had one shitzu poodle and she didn’t have my heart). Same with humans. If you can handle yourself and live a life of privilege I will let you handle your issues, but I would raise arms for someone in a less fortunate position.
So important to recognize that everyone is different and we need to create space for differences in others.
Your grandma sounds like a very smart lady! I agree that I tend to lean toward the underdog… or at least the quiet-dog. If someone is having trouble sticking up for themself or knowing their worth I feel called to help them or step in or at least protect them- humans and animals. We’ve only ever had mutts and we’ve only ever rescued or adopted- so I 100% get where you’re coming from!