Educate. Communicate.

Lately I’ve realized the difference in what we think should be understood to what is actually understood.  I wonder if we’d try to walk in someone else’s shoes for a moment, view life from their eyes, hear words from their ears.. would you still feel the same?  Everyone has a different perception of what is said, heard or seen.  I’m coming from a mom of a child with Down Syndrome, yet in reality, this could be felt in any given situation.  Politics, religion, neighbor differences, families, etc.  If we hear one another for who they are, how they view the world, how the feel, then maybe the drastic decline of humanity would be lessened.

I was lying in bed at 4:00 am this morning with my daughter.  We were both awake due to a bed wetting accident (her, not me!).  I asked her if she was okay and her response was “Tunia”.  (that’s our nickname for our dog, Petunia)  Knowing her, how she speaks and sensing her body language, I knew that the dog was simply laying too close to her to comfortably fall back to sleep.  Then I began to think.. if we put as much thought into how the world around us lived as we do in the way our loved ones communicate, we may just have a better place to live.

Have you ever just listened to someone?  Not with judgement, not with frustration for a difference of opinion, not with rose-colored glasses..  just listen.  Every single person on this planet, child or adult, has feelings, thoughts, ideas.  And, I’d bargain to say that everyone just wants to be heard and loved.  After having my daughter, I had to see the world differently.  The world is a scary place, if you let it be.  I lived in fear for a long time.  How would people treat her being that she was born with Down Syndrome; how would she live after I’m gone; who will make sure she’s taken care of in this world of condemnation and fighting?  I lived in this bubble for long enough.  I prayed.  I talked to my family, I listened to my gut instinct.  I had to force myself to just be.  I can’t control the world or the people occupying it, but I can control how I interact with the world and its challenges.

When people don’t respond how we think they should, we tend to get upset.  Why don’t they understand where we’re coming from?  Why do they have to be so difficult?  Have you considered that your reaction to them might be the most hurtful, degrading thing they’ve encountered recently?  Maybe they thought you were the one person who they could relate to, yet you’ve just crushed their sense of being.

I love knowing that there aren’t two people made the same.  God’s plan was to create a world of uniqueness, individuality, beauty and acceptance.  Whether you believe in God, or whomever, you were created to be a lovely creature walking this Earth, having a voice, spreading your love and being an integral part of this thing called life.  We all have challenges, we all have differences.  I think that if we were to educate ourselves to see people for who they are, not the preconceived idea of who they should be, we might all get along better.

Love is free.  Acceptance is free.

Just as if you were embarking on a new relationship and you had to see the new person’s ideas for what they are, see the world that way.  Everyone is different, yet everyone feels.  We can make a better world, just by effort alone.  Our differences are what make us unique.  And what makes us unique is beautiful.  If you can appreciate that, you’re one step ahead.

Talking to my daughter is sometimes challenging.  Sometimes she will say exactly what she wants, yet most of the time her responses are one word and I have to decipher what’s actually going on.  I’ve learned patience.  I’ve learned that her lack of communication makes it difficult for her to respond how I would think she, maybe should or could.  This is my bad.  She has no control over what I think she should be able to do, yet I had to step back and see things from her eyes.  She is trying her best to tell me whats wrong, what she wants, how she feels, etc.  I just need to listen.

Same goes for all people.  Listen.  If we try to see life how they do, maybe we could reach a peaceful compromise, a loving lifestyle or simply an unexpected friendship.  Accepting our differences and appreciating one another may just make this life easier to enjoy.

I don’t know about you, but I hate confrontation.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll stick up for myself if need be, yet I don’t look for instances where I need to forcibly make myself heard.  I may not be the best listener, but I think I do a decent job at seeing different perspectives.  I don’t see that hurting one another is an answer to anything.  I definitely do not agree with neglecting another’s ideas just because they aren’t mine.  My brother calls me a hippy and I’m totally okay with that.  It may sound silly, but if you believe in past lives, I’d be the girl placing flowers in gun barrels instead of chanting in protest.  Or feeding innocent, neglected individuals left on the streets because of a government that’s failed them.  That would be me.  I try to see the world for what it is.  I’m not saying I’m right, what I’m saying is that believing that everyone is valid, precious and worthy of being who they are is important.

Be kind.  Love, educate and accept.