“A road cannot tell you that there is a misfortune ahead.” – Batswana proverb
Nobody is ever going to tell you that their inability to accept you for who you are is their own challenge. They are always going to make it look and sound like it is your fault they cannot really accept you for you. And they will do everything possible to hide the fact that their lack of objectivity is distorted by their wishes and fears. Many individuals have not developed a genuine love for themselves, and thus project this attitudinal syndrome onto others. They are so lazy in their assessment that their perception of others cannot penetrate beneath appearances to the core of their being.
It is really strange how the periphery of a being can be more important to them than their core. Sadly, this is the trend in society. All around us, the orientation of acceptance is mainly expressed in the tweaking and ‘meeking’ of our individual uniqueness – until we all look like we have been mass-produced in a factory. Any outside-the-box looks or attitudes are frowned upon with disdain. This is done under the condition of maintaining normalcy with others and with nature. What we do not realise is that such wholesale conformity means the slow-killing of our integrity and individuality.
Conformity is a killer. It has heaped lots of wrong on our humanity. Constituted from baseless perceptions, it nips creativity in the bud and shoots brilliance in the foot. Imagine some people painting you as a bad seed simply because you do not dress like them or talk like them. It would make you very uncomfortable and could even drive you to question your Maker. It is no secret that some people have hated their parents for their race, tribe, and other inherited traits, all because of society’s conformity syndrome.
Miserably, we are all perpetuators of this craziness. If you were to honest with yourself, you would realise you have not given some individuals certain opportunities because they did not fit your perception of what you were looking for. People have suffered disproportionately, and some continue to experience this because of our flawed perceptions. Why should nature adorn one with certain traits and abilities only for society to punish such an individual because he or she does not fit? And who created the ‘fit’ criteria in the first place?
We might not like it, but our individual eccentricity, unusualness and uniqueness altogether constitutes the wealth of life. It requires a certain kind of unconditional love to tap into this opportunity. It is the reason our greatest duty is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If I have you behave like me, what shall I learn of you or from you to make life better for me and for you? Our differences make us better and graces life with the elegance of a peacock. As individuals, we are all uniquely wonderful. That makes every single one of us strange and yet special. That is why we have to let the love-ethic permeate our relationships with all others.
In recent times, the concept of diversity has been preached widely, forcing a handful of us into accepting an embracing relationship with individuals who do not fit our perception of ‘normal.’ But despite this evolution, stigmatisation of eccentricity continues to grow in our society. Whether we like it or not, diversity is the foundation of our physical and genetic pre-dispositions which lead to the uniqueness of the individual.
Let us be careful of the stream of feelings that runs round our brains as thoughts. Rather, let us tune into the dynamics of people around us, irrespective of their looks. They know as much as you do, but not the same things. And they feel like you do, except what they resonate with might not be what resonates with you. Accepting people as they are allows you to rub into them and they into you, and thus create a symbiotic energy popularly labeled ‘synergy’.
Nobody can ever become who you want them to be. They are better-off being themselves so that they can bring out the best in you. It is these same people whose uniqueness helps us to face the truth around us and within ourselves. That is why life is meant to be lived with a generous curiosity. As religion entreats, “God looks into our hearts”. Likewise, we live with our hearts for our minds are critical.
We must warm our hearts and open them to seek the best in others, and bring it out of them for the good of all. That is why Elif Shafak in her book ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ tells us that “the path to the truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide – not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs (false ego) with your heart. Knowing your ego (higher self/soul) will lead you to the knowledge of God”.
She challenges us to let our hearts rule over our minds, so that we can appreciate others for their abilities and disabilities and tap into their strengths while helping them with their weakness. It is our hearts that can accept people for who they are. And it is our hearts that can alter even our own perception of who we are, or who we were before others came into our lives.
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a life coach, a trainer and a philanthropist who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true, and empower them to positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their thoughts, words and actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]