Let’s look at another simple way to change the world.
#2 RESPECT OTHERS AS YOU WANT TO BE RESPECTED
It’s easy to demean and disrespect someone, especially if that someone is a member of a group – women, black, handicapped, etc. - that might have a hard time standing up for themselves, socially and otherwise. Besides, you’re only expressing the long-standing prejudices that are part and parcel of the culture around you. And sometimes you can score points or fit in better with coworkers or social peers by voicing such attitudes.
So why bother to take the social and moral higher ground? Why make a conscious effort to deal with a person as an individual and not a ______ or a ______? The answer is pretty basic. Every time you treat another person with prejudice and disrespect you’re fueling our Manplan culture. A culture based on dividing people rather than bringing them together and keeping control in the hands of the most ruthless (be that politically or physically).
But the opposite is also true. Each of us already holds the power to reach that higher ground every time we choose:
** fairness instead of discrimination in dealing with others,
** cooperation and compromise instead of conflict, and
** thinking for ourselves instead of blindly accepting negative preconceptions.
When we do these things we are building a different, better culture based on good sense and fair play – two positive values we see very little of in our 21st century world. We don’t see good sense because social groups too often require unquestioning loyalty to religious dogma or party philosophy. And we don’t see fair play because many of these belief systems make it perfectly acceptable to ignore, demean or even harm someone who doesn’t believe like we do.
What we have is division and conflict. What we need is community and collaboration. So by actively demonstrating these social values at every opportunity we can have a positive and powerful influence on both the general culture and the individuals around us.
We won’t truly know or love too many people in our lifetime, but we can strive to respect every human being we meet along the way. Some of them will prove worthy of that respect and some won’t, but giving that respect as a matter of habit benefits all of us - today and in the future.