“We believe we are called to treat everyone with dignity and honor. We are not called to judge others. Instead, we are called to love and serve them.”
Who would have thought? I would have voted for pot roast or mashed potatoes. Maybe even fried chicken, green beans, or meatloaf. But pizza? Really? According to a Harris poll, America’s favorite “comfort food” is, of all things, pizza. And isn’t comfort food an interesting descriptor? The term, comfort food, was first coined back in 1966 when the Palm Beach Post used it in a story:
Well, of course, we all want to feel comfortable. We all prefer it. We all hope for it. We all gravitate to it. I’ve heard it said, “People don’t know what they like. They just like what they know,” and that again emphasizes our desire for comfort.
Feeling comfortable is a safe space. Our hearts and minds have a propensity to peace over conflict and rest over stress. And the peace and rest we desire are preferred in every area of our life, including our inner being, family, circumstances, job, and relationships. But experiencing peace in all of those areas of life, as we all know, is quite a challenge. And although each of those areas is profoundly important, I want to address one in particular.
Since most of us “like what we know,” our natural tendency is to apply that learning into the realm of our relationships. But in doing so, many challenges arise. The first being that interpersonal interaction with people different from us is unavoidable. Every day we work with, talk with and interact with people very unlike us. And, the second being that interacting with someone different from us in many instances disrupts our comfort zone. The truth is, we prefer and enjoy our familiar groupings. Whether it is our age group, our ethnic group, our socio-economic group, our church group, or our preferred political party, we like being around folks like us. But is that a safe space? Is hiding within our conceptions of comfort a help or a hindrance? Consider this.
In 2001, after a drug raid on an Atlanta home, police discovered a lion cub (Leo), a bear cub (Baloo), and a tiger cub (Shere Khan) in the basement. They were kept as pets by the drug dealer and were abused. For example, Baloo’s harness grew into his skin because the owner did not alter it as the bear grew. But the trio had developed an extraordinary and intimate bond. They were moved to the Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia, and an attempt was made to separate the trio. But during the trial separation, the animals were defiant and behaved poorly. So a decision was made to keep the three together, which resulted in their calming down and surprising to all, constantly seeking out each other’s affections.
Three unlikely companions. Who would have thought they could have co-existed? And not just co-existed but thrived. Can the same be true of humankind? Can a few improbable people press through the improbability and become probable despite differing opinions, opposing parties, opposite viewpoints, or different ethnic backgrounds? Hopefully, these seven precepts will guide us as we strive to be more accepting and less judgemental of others resulting in a comfort level that defies reason but opens a window of peace and discovery that is unimaginable.
- Acceptance doesn’t mean agreement.
- Acceptance doesn’t mean approval.
- When you judge another, it says more about you than it does about the one you’ve judged.
- Acceptance doesn’t begin with examining others. It starts with examining ourselves.
- There is a back-story story behind every person. We don’t all start at the same place.
- To truly accept and not judge others, we first must accept that they are correct from their point of view.
- No one can persuade another to change, keeping in mind the words of Stephen Covey, “Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.”
In summary, here is some “food” for thought (forgive the pun). Your preferred comfort food may be chicken, fried steak, and mashed potatoes. But that does not preclude you from sitting at the same dining table and enjoying the fellowship of someone eating pizza. Does it?
Written by William “Billy” Nunez
Director of Culture, Fathom Realty
Florida State Broker