Since I began blogging, I have realised that not all opinions are the same…(I mean I knew that before but it wasn’t something that stood out as much due to living in my own little world and associating with very few) and what I have learnt since then is that no matter how hard someone tries, there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with what you do, write or say. Some people may not agree with this post and that’s fine too, I know not everyone can be pleased.
And that’s totally OK. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what I wonder is, are people aware of how their opinions may affect the one they are directing their opinion towards?
For example, perhaps you’re passing a teenager, wearing all black with obvious facial piercings, on the street and you automatically assume that they are trouble….Do you stop to think that perhaps instead that’s what makes them feel comfortable. Maybe they have been through hell at the hands of a family member and that’s their outlet, their way to cope. They might not feel all bright and bubbly and don’t wish to display the bright colours.
A lot of people make too many assumptions in life. Occasionally a few might actually stop, ask and consider them as an individual, and not stereotype them instead.
The homeless man that sits out in the park each day, clothes all torn and tattered…perhaps stop and just say Hi… I did this one day with a lady down in Melbourne. She was sitting there with her dog looking extremely sad, with a sign that was asking for respect, it said “I am human too” that was it. She didn’t ask for money and she wasn’t asking for a handout. Now I’ve been homeless before as a teenager and know how hard it is to get respect and not be looked at as just some rebellious teen that wanted a handout. After offering to get her something to eat and getting a can for her dog I sat down with her and we started chatting.
She told me how she had lost her family in a car accident along the highway 8 months prior, and the simple notion of being in her family home that she shared with her husband and 2 children, was too much for her to bear. She had told me that it was a rented home and she had let the rent fall behind, as she felt like she didn’t deserve to be there. She had been driving the car that afternoon and they were on their way to a family wedding in Sydney. She still blamed herself for the accident (though I later found out through her telling me, that it was a result of a drunk driver that had fallen asleep behind the wheel) and she believed that she wasn’t entitled to live a happy normal life when her children never even had the chance to grow up. This was her way of coping. She wasn’t just an alcoholic, nor a drug addict, yet unfortunately, that’s what many would’ve assumed by walking past her. All she wanted was a little respect and be left to deal with her grief the best way she knew possible.
I was extremely glad that I had stopped and spoken to her that day, and she was very grateful that I had given her the recognition of still being a worthy individual. Her story had touched me and made me realise that too many people do make assumptions when perhaps all they should do is listen.
ASSUME – when broken down that word is ASS/U/ME….can you see it? If you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me….
So perhaps next time you see that person living underneath a cardboard shelter, don’t label them with what you’ve been brought up to believe, find out or walk on without judgement.
When you see that teenager you label as trouble, stop and think that maybe there’s something more underlying. Don’t automatically assume.
Next time you see someone begging for food in the street, don’t label them as a bludger, perhaps there’s a very good reason why they asking. Consider this.
Not everyone chooses the path they are stuck on, some do admittedly, but, not all. It doesn’t take much to recognise others as individuals, and consider that maybe they are going through a rough patch…and it doesn’t take much to throw them a smile. You could be actually giving them hope that they aren’t worthless in the eyes of society.
|Sometimes this is all they want, not a handout and not sympathy, just a sense of self worth.|
So what will you do next time you see someone less fortunate than you, will you act as if they don’t exist or will you be non-judgemental and consider the fact there could be more to it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Til next time,
Stay safe, stay smiling!