Have you noticed how divided we have become as a society? The media is constantly pushing narratives that categorize people into groups, fostering animosity and even hate towards those who have different beliefs and opinions than we do.
When we focus on our differences, we feel disconnected from one another. It not only hurts us as individuals, but collectively as a society.
When we choose to see each other from the perspective of our similarities, our commonalities, and our sameness, we feel connected. We feel love, even when we disagree on topics, concepts, or beliefs.
On today’s podcast, I’m inviting all of us to remember that we are all fundamentally the same, that ALL of us have far more in common than we have differences, and that each of us has a responsibility to do our part to heal humanity’s division.
Today, I want to explore why our differences are actually superficial, who we really are at our core, and the very real possibility that there’s a higher level of consciousness we can all access with regards to how we see and treat each other.
- Why you’re still the baby you were born as—and so is everyone else.
- The 5 criteria we use when judging other people—and why the 5th is where we should be operating if we want humanity to thrive.
- How superficial differences come to change our perception and definition of others—and why they shouldn’t.
- Why actions speak louder than words, but intentions reveal our soul.
- How to look past superficial differences and disagreements to find common ground and better understand your shared values with someone else.
“Actions may speak louder than words, but it is our intentions that reveal our soul.” – Hal Elrod
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and thank you so much for tuning in today. I really appreciate it. I know that you've got like thousands of podcasts that you could be listening to right now, not to mention infinite other things you could be doing, and you're choosing to listen to this podcast. So, I have done everything in my power to make this as valuable for you as possible, and I feel like today's topic is crucial right now for all of us. If you're a human being, it's crucial for you. Even if you're an animal, it's probably crucial because you're being affected by the temperament of your owner, of the person that takes care of you. I don't know why I said that. You're not an animal, but you're a human being.
And so, let's talk today about– what we're going to talk about, we're going to explore why people are focused on our differences, how that's detrimental to us, not only as individuals but as a society, and ultimately, why we are all the same. We are all fundamentally the same. And when we choose to see and experience each other from the place of our similarities, our commonalities, our sameness. We feel connected. We feel love toward others, even if we completely disagree on certain topics or concepts or beliefs. So, today, I hope, will be eye-opening for you. I just finished recording the episode, and oh, I felt really good. It felt really good. So, hopefully, you enjoy this.
And before we dive in, I want to give a quick shout-out to my sponsor, Organifi, who brings the show to you every single week. Organifi, as you know, if you've been a long-time listener, they make some of the highest quality plant-based, food-based organic whole food supplements. Unlike most supplements vitamins that you buy on Amazon or in a store, they are synthetic. They use chemicals and preservatives. Organifi does not. And I want to tell just a quick story. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but our friend Jen told my wife, my wife had been not sleeping really well, and her and Jen were hanging out. And Jen said, “Have you tried Organifi Gold?” And Ursula, my wife, said, “No.” And Jen said, “I was having trouble sleeping. I started taking Organifi Gold in the evening.” And it's like they make a chocolate flavor, and my wife got the pumpkin spice flavor. You scoop powder into some hot water and you drink it, like an hour or two before bed. And it has herbs and adaptogens to help you relax and calm down and sleep better. And my wife started using it and she said she's been sleeping great.
And then two nights ago, the next morning, she came out and I go, “How you feeling?” She goes, “Oh, I slept terribly.” I go, “Really? Why? What happened?” She goes, “Well,” she said, “I don't, you know?” She said she had some reasons, but she said, “I didn't drink the Organifi Gold last night, and I think that may have been the difference-maker because I've been drinking that for the last few weeks, I've been feeling great.” So then last night, she drank the Organifi Gold, came out this morning, and she said, “Oh, it worked, like I slept great. My mind was calm. I rested and I feel rejuvenated.” So, if sleep is a challenge for you, I highly encourage you to check out Organifi.com/Hal and then use the code HAL at checkout for an extra 15% off your order. And again, not just for sleep, I use their protein powder. I drink their green juice every day, the red juice, you name it. My smoothie is loaded with Organifi every single day, and I take it midday for a little pick-me-up on energy as well. So, if you want more energy, better health, check out Organifi.com/Hal and use the code HAL at checkout.
And now, without further ado, let's talk about it. I'm throwing it out there. I'm saying it. We are all the same. Here we go.
Hal Elrod: Alright. Here we go. Let's do this. Today is going to be a fun episode, everybody. I'm glad you are here. Welcome to the podcast. Yeah, this is a fun episode, or at least I'm excited to have this conversation because it's positive and I think it's really relevant for all of us. Today, we're going to explore the ways in which we are all the same. Got it. You and me, we're the same. You are me, I am you, we are the same. And our superficial differences versus our fundamental sameness, I don't need to be the basis of how we experience each other. So, today, I'm inviting you to consider the possibility that there is a higher level of consciousness available for all of us to access when it comes to how we see and how we treat each other. It's based on who we truly are at our core, not our relatively superficial differences, which we're going to explore today, we're all the same, essentially.
And it's only our perception that really changes that, is when it comes to people, we can dwell on our differences or we can focus on our commonalities. One is not more real than the other. They're both equally real, but which we choose determines how we experience each other, right? If I look at you, and all I see are the things I disagree with, I'm probably not going to feel very connected to you, but if, on the other hand, I look at you and I choose to see, I choose to see all that we have in common, I'm likely to feel connected to you. I'm likely to even feel love toward you. So, again, just like in life, you can focus on the positive or negative. You can focus on what's going wrong, what's going right in relationships with other people, and just in general, our view of other human beings on this planet. We have the ability and opportunity to choose what we focus on, and it creates our experience of each other. So, that's where we're going to dive into today.
Before we do, I want to ask you a question. This came up for me the other day. I asked a friend, and it started a great conversation. So, here's the question. What have you been up to lately that's bringing you joy? Think about that for a second. What are you doing in your life every day that brings you joy, that fills you up, that makes you feel good and feel alive and feel grateful? And if nothing is coming to mind, I would encourage you to consider that what could you do to create more joy in your life. I think it's so important that we're engaged in activities and practices, everyday rituals, routines that bring us joy, that make us feel good. And it's usually the simple things, like time in nature or exercising or meditating or reading a book or getting out of your comfort zone and doing something new that causes you to grow.
For me, personally, the last two weeks, I've been building a chicken coop. There's a lot that brings me joy, but what's unexpected is that it's been all these things since about five months ago, My wife moved, we moved our family, our two kids onto a ranch, and we've been building stuff. And if you ask anybody that's known me my whole life, like they would never have guessed, including me guessing for myself, the manual labor was something I hid from, I avoided at all costs. And now, I've been living this ranch life, if you will. For the last two weeks, I’ve been building a chicken coop with my father-in-law from morning until night in hot weather. It is hard work, sweating in the Texas heat, and as someone, again, who's avoided manual labor at all costs my entire life, I never would have expected that working outside in the heat all day, building something for my family could bring me so much joy, but it has.
I think part of the reason is when you're hitting a nail with a hammer, you're just present. It's just a mindfulness activity. You're present when you're screwing that screw and when you're holding up that board, and whatever you're doing, whatever you're building, it brings you fully into the moment. And before we do the chicken coop, we spent seven days morning until night building a greenhouse so we can start growing food for our family. And then, recently, we had a funny escapade the other day. If you follow me on social media, you saw we had our 100-pound tortoise Tank escaped while I was by myself at the property. And like a 100-pound tortoise who is stubborn, who doesn't listen, who doesn't follow direction, you can't stop him. And it was a whole ordeal trying to capture him and get him back into his pen. You can go to Instagram or Facebook, and you can see there are actually some videos up there of how that happened.
But anyway, the point is that's what’s been bringing me joy is spending time, kind of unplug from technology as much as I can and just living on the land, just being with my family, playing a lot of board games, being outside, being in nature, building things. And so, I just encourage you to stop and pause and ask yourself, what are you doing every day that's bringing you joy? And if there aren't, if you struggle to find an answer, really sit down with that, spend 30 minutes, and ask yourself, what could I do? What are small things I could do? How could I spend time in nature, spend time with loved ones, spend time doing fun things, maybe hobbies that you used to do, but you got too busy or whatever? I invite you to dive back into daily activities that bring you joy.
Alright, with all of that, let's talk about this. Let's have this conversation about whether or not we are all the same. And I'm proposing that we are. So, actually, let's start at the beginning, right? Go back to it. Like when we were newborn babies, at one point, we were all newborn babies. So, it's safe to say that at that point in our lives, we were essentially at the same rate. We didn't have differing opinions or judgments. We didn't say or do things that offended other people or we weren't offended by other people, right? We were babies. We don't have these stereotypes on others. We didn't identify by any certain political ideology. We were just little human beings, little baby human beings. And think about the fact that we are still, like when you see somebody on social media or whatever that you disagree with, that you feel is on “the other team,” we’ll talk about that a little bit today, these teams, this toxic tribalism, if you will, but think about that each of us, we all started out as little babies, right? We were baby human beings. And we're essentially still that human being that we've been since birth.
Like who you are at your core, you're that baby that grew up. You're not a Democrat or a Republican. You're not an atheist or a certain religion like, you're not your beliefs. You're more than your beliefs and your opinions and the information you've taken in, essentially, at a foundation. And by the way, that's not where we're going. We're not going to end with you're a baby. Like, that's not the answer to we're all the same, but just think about that for a second. I always do that when I think about another person, is just to realize that they're just human beings. They're just human beings, usually doing the best they can with what they believe is true and what they believe is right.
So, we're still human beings that we've been since birth. What changed? Well, we've just accumulated a wide variety of life experiences. We've developed beliefs and opinions about the world and other people. Some of us identify based on certain groups or ideologies, but I want to ask you this. What criteria do you base your judgments, your assessments, your opinions of other people on? So, let's start here. What criteria do you base your judgments of other people on? For example, if you say, I like that person, I really like him, or I don't like that person. What are you basing that on? Is it their personality? Is it based on something that they've said or something that they've done? Is it possibly based on how they treat you? Whether or not you like a person, what are the criteria that that's determined by it? I'm sure it's not conscious, right? You don't go, you usually don't think it through. You don't make a conscious decision and assess. Do I like this person? Let me run it through a checklist. No, it's usually just an intuitive feeling, but think about it for a second. What brings that about? What are the criteria? Is it, again, personality or based on what they say or do, or based on how they treat you?
Or here's another one, when you say, when you feel, when you believe, when you judge, oh, they're like me, or the opposite, they're not like me. What criteria are you basing that on? Is it their beliefs or their life experiences? Or is it their values? Like what's different? Because you could say, well, I'm white, and they're black, so they're different from me. The criteria could be so surface level that it's the things that we were born with that are completely uncontrollable. Our physical attributes, like race, nationality, gender, physical appearance, these uncontrollable aspects that we were born with, is that what you're determining? Whether someone is like you or isn’t like you because today, I want to dive deeper than that. I want to dive deep beyond the superficial.
And there are layers of superficial. I would say at the top level is just the things we were born with, again, our race or gender, like whatever you were born with, that's the top level of most superficial differences, but often, we're being divided or we divide ourselves or we categorize other people based on these superficial differences. So, let's examine the various kind of options, I guess, of how we base, how we perceive other people starting with the most superficial, and then diving deeper into the most fundamental. So, I just said, I would say the most superficial are the physical attributes, the things we are born with, the race, the nationality, the gender, right? That's just how we were born. And so, to create separation over that is missing a much deeper level of oneness that we all possess.
So, another option for how you might base your judgment of another person, our words, what we say. So, we often judge other people based on what they say. Now, you might be thinking, Hal, duh, of course. You might almost be thinking like this is so obvious, why am I even saying this? Of course, we judge other people based on what they say. Okay, well, hold that thought. Hold that thought. We're going to explore why that might not be the best way to judge other people, to assess, to evaluate, to determine how you're going to feel about another person.
Alright, so beyond words, what are there? Well, there's actions, what we do. We judge others based on what they do. We've all heard actions speak louder than words. We've all heard that, but let me ask you a question. Have you ever said or done anything that wasn't a reflection of who you really are? Most of us are judging others based on their words and actions, but individually, we can all say, “Well, yeah, I've made mistakes. I've said things that I later regretted that weren't necessarily a reflection of my values and who I really am at the core.” Maybe you said it out of emotion. We've all said things we regretted because we were upset, we were angry, we were heated or whatever, but when you calm down and you thought clearly, you realize it wasn't in alignment with your values, with who you really are, maybe you apologized or you regretted it. So, it's safe to say that our words aren't always a reflection of who we truly are.
Now, what about our actions? Well, it's kind of the same thing, right? You’d ever done something that was out of character for you? We all have. We've all made mistakes and done things that weren't in alignment with our values and who we really are. We've acted out of emotion. We've had poor judgment. We've acted irrationally, act before we think. We've all done that before. So, I think it's safe to say that although actions may speak louder than words, neither are really a reflection of who we really are. I used to always say, I had a quote that I said in a speech once and then I wrote it down. I would share it. I used to say actions may speak louder than words, but it is our intentions that reveal our soul. Now, I'm sure you've also heard the saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions. So, is there truth to either of those statements? The first one, I said, actions may speak louder than words, but it's our intentions that reveal our soul. And then, on the other side of that, you've got, well, no, intentions are the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Well, here's what I meant by that. And what I still mean by that. You think about if you actually look at someone's words and actions and you go, wow, what they said really offended me, and I could judge them on that. I think it was wrong what they said and what they did. I also think that was wrong, it hurt someone else. But if you actually look beneath their words and actions and you discover their intentions, which aren't easy, right? The intentions aren't being worn on the sleeve usually. You've got actually get to know a person. You have to care enough to get to know a person and understand where they're coming from. That's the intention is where they're coming from. For example, if they said something and they were trying to help you feel better, but based on your model of the word, what they said actually made you feel worse. Are they a bad person? Do they deserve your condemnation because they said something that offended you or that made you feel worse when actually, their intention was what they said, the words they chose? They were trying to make you feel better. They were trying to help you.
So, do you see where this philosophy comes from? Right now, we're kind of dabbling into a philosophy. We're going to get into more concrete stuff, but just consider that actions and words, or actions may speak louder than words, but intentions are what really reveal our soul. And you get to know somebody and understand their intentions, you really get to know their heart. So, words and actions are what most of us are judging other people on. And often, words might be a Facebook post, or a meme somebody shares. In today's digital age, that's the worse. Sometimes, you're not having a conversation with somebody, you're just reading what they wrote on social media and you are judging it.
I posted someone on social media the other day, and it was a picture of me with this gal at an event that I just spoke out. And I shared kind of my thoughts on interacting with people that that day I hugged 100 people and then I've never stopped hugging people in the last 18 months. And listening to some of that, that might actually trigger and you might get upset, Hal, how could you do that? We're in the middle of a pandemic. Well, go find the post. It’s on my Instagram and both of my Facebook profiles. You can find that post. It’s a picture of me shaking a gal’s hand. Here's the point. In that post, in the comments, someone said, Hal, this post, I appreciate something, something, something, and then said, but it's tone-deaf. It's insensitive to certain people. And I sent a pretty lengthy response to that person, and I thanked them for calling that to my attention. I said whenever I record a podcast or I post something like this, I'm never trying to offend someone.
In fact, one of my guiding values is unity. I'm always trying to be as inclusive as I can for all people, regardless of someone's opinions or beliefs. I'm trying to make all of my messages really unifying because there is so much division today. And we're going to talk more about that today, like the problem with the division that's happening right now. It's been happening for a long time, but I think it's just kind of reached a critical mass in the last 18 months. And so, when it comes to people who have differing opinions or differing beliefs than we do, rather than judge on the surface, if you go deeper underneath a person's words and their actions, or our beliefs, that's a deeper level to understand someone to really get to know someone and where they're coming from because beliefs are what we base our words and actions on.
If you believe something, then you're likely to express that belief verbally or in written form and then you're likely to act in alignment with that belief, but consider that we form our beliefs and opinions based on the information we've been exposed to, so different information creates different beliefs. If you're exposed to different information than I am, and then we form different beliefs, it doesn't mean the other person is stupid or evil or racist or whatever insult that might come up for us or that somebody else might throw out just because you're different. I see a lot of that, just a lot of right now, differing beliefs, and then someone will comment on a post and say, “You're such an idiot,” or “I can't believe you would say this,” but again, our beliefs are just formed by our life experiences and the information that we've been exposed to.
And speaking of life experiences, if you're judging people, you can start with physical attributes. That's kind of the first level, the first criteria that we judge people on. And then you go to words, what we say. You go to actions, what we do. And then we go to beliefs, which, by the way, beliefs, that's what we form our opinions from as well, what we believe to be true, but if you go even deeper and you strive to understand someone's life experiences, you start to understand where their beliefs came from and why they say what they say and why they do what they do.
For example, someone who grew up in a safe neighborhood with kind, loving parents and had a relatively just calm, normal, healthy experience at school and amongst friends. Their parents gave them a great life. They were never in danger. That person, based on their life experience, is going to have very different beliefs than someone who grew up in a hostile environment, like South Central Los Angeles with drive-by shootings where they never felt safe or someone who grew up in a foster home without parents, without feeling loved, or without feeling a sense of security. Based on our life experiences, we're going to have very different beliefs which are going to lead to very different words and actions.
Think about this. It is easy to judge others based on our life experiences. I can't believe that person said that. I would never say that. I can't believe that person did that. That's what a horrible human being is. I would never do that. But consider that had you lived someone else's life, there is a very good chance that you would say and do and believe exactly the same things. So, from that perspective, we have no basis to accurately judge another person. What's that old saying, like, don't judge me until you've walked in my shoes? We simply have no way of knowing that had we lived another person's life, we'd be exactly the same. So, who are you or I to judge another person as good or bad or wrong or right or stupid or ignorant? If you had lived their life, been exposed to the same experiences and information and people and other influences. You'd probably be them, you'd be the same person.
And so, that for me has been one of like that mindset, that paradigm right there is what allows me to love all people unconditionally, all people, all people, I'm talking about murderers, I'm talking about people that do horrible things to other people. I have zero hate toward those people. I love those people. And I realize that have I lived their life, I might have done the exact same thing. I might have murdered another person. I don't know, think about that. Think about that. Let's stop there, and I want to sit here for a second and think about someone that does something horrible to another person, and how you might feel just hate toward that person. First of all, does you feeling hate toward that person add any value to life in any way? Does that serve anything? To my knowledge, no.
To my knowledge, feeling and experiencing hate toward anything, whether it's another person or an event or an ideology, feeling and experiencing hate toward anything doesn't change that thing. It doesn't solve or improve that thing. It just causes us to experience hate inside of us. So, think about that for a second. Can you love everything and everyone? Can you love everything and everyone, every single person? Because if you can come from a place of love and hopefully, by the end of today's episode, we got a lot more to unpack here, but hopefully, you'll be able to go, “Yeah. Wait a minute, I'm going to love all people unconditionally.”
And let me be really clear, whenever I talk about loving people unconditionally, the response that inevitably always comes up is, no, I can't love them that do wrong because I'm then condoning what they're doing. This is a misconception. I'm not sure where this comes from. Just because you love someone, you can absolutely despise what they did. You can absolutely hold them accountable for what they did. You’re in no way is loving someone condoning what they're doing, but (A) it allows you to experience love and considering that one of the most fundamental needs for all of us is love, someone that does wrong or does evil if you were to express hate toward them, you're just going to feed that hate they already have within themselves that causes them to act out and hurt others, but if you actually expressed love toward the person that did evil, who knows? That might be what they need to feel love inside of themselves and to heal, to heal whatever it is that's caused them to hurt others, right? Love is the way. As Jason Mraz said, one of my favorite songs, love is still the answer. It's not new, but it is still the answer. So, if you really look at folks, people, others, and you understand that who they are is a result of largely their life experiences, you can have some empathy toward them. You can stop projecting hate or anger or rage toward others and just start loving them. Start loving them.
So, let's go further. So, we've talked about physical attributes, judging people on their physical attributes, which is the most superficial, arguably of all. And then their words, which the words, by the way, absolutely pay attention to somebody's words because they're expressing their inner world. It's just that it's not the end-all, be-all. It doesn't tell the whole story. Same with actions. Absolutely, it tells you something, but it doesn't tell the whole story of who a person really is, right? And then you look at their intentions. And now, you're getting a better understanding of oh, they’re intending to do the right thing. They intended to do something to help me, or maybe their intention is just to express their beliefs, right? And then you get somebody’s life experiences and you go, oh, that makes sense why they are the way that they are. Look at what they've been through. Look at what they grew up learning and being told was right. Look at what they went through. And had I gone through that, gosh, I might have done, I don't know. I mean, we can only guess. We can only guess that had we lived someone else's life experience, we'd probably say do and believe what they do. We don't know for sure, but there's no point in judging the opposite going, I would never do that. How do you know? You're not them. You didn't live their life. You don't have their brain. How do you know? You don't. We don't. We don't know that we wouldn't be exactly the same.
And so, then where we get, and this is where I really want to dive in. So, if our words and our actions and our beliefs and our life experiences aren't necessarily accurate assessments of who we are and who other people are, what is? Well, consider, for today's purposes, that our values, it's our values that reveal who we truly are. So, what if that's what we based our world view of other people on, our shared values? And what do I mean by that? What do I mean our values? Well, for example, my values would include I value being happy. I'm guessing that you value that, too, guessing that you value being happy. Now, our words and actions and the things that we do to experience feelings of being happy are likely going to be very different based on our beliefs, based on our intentions, based on our life experiences, but fundamentally, we're the same, we just want to be happy.
And so, using our limited knowledge, think about that, all the knowledge in the world or individually, even the smartest person in the world, our knowledge is limited. We don't have all the knowledge available to human beings. You've got the knowledge that you have based on the experiences and the wisdom and the information you've been exposed to, and I have mine. So, we do the best we can with what we have to be happy. So, one of my values is being happy, one of my values is being safe, I want to be safe. I don't want to be in danger. That's a very primitive, foundational human trait, is safety, is to protect yourself and to protect those that you love. We've been doing that for thousands of years or longer than that. So, that's a value. I value health, I'm guessing that you value health, too. I value financial security, I'm guessing you value financial security, too. Do you follow?
If you go beneath someone's physical attributes, you look deeper than their physical attributes, and then you even go beyond their words, you go deeper underneath the words, deeper underneath the actions to understand what are the intentions that led to those actions. And then you go even deeper and you learn about their life experiences. You start to go, oh, it's making sense why they are the way they are and why they say the things they say. And gosh, shame on me for condemning them, for what they said and what they did now that I understand why they did it and where they were coming from. And then you look at someone's values and you go, oh, they're just like me at their core. At their core, they're just like me. They just want to be happy and healthy and they want the freedom to live life on their terms. And they just want to have good relationships with other people. And they just want to be safe. We go about it differently, but fundamentally, we're the same.
One person, for safety, they might own a gun and go through firearms training because they want to protect their family and keep their family safe. And then, another person, they might mask up every time they go to the grocery store, put their mask on themselves and their kids, and the two might judge each other and go, oh my gosh. You own a gun, you're dangerous. And then the person who owns the gun may go, you wear a mask at the grocery store or at the park, you're outside, why would you need that? So, there are all these judgments going on because they're judging superficial differences, not realizing that, oh, you're trying to keep your family safe. I'm trying to keep my family safe. Wow! I guess we're fundamentally the same. At the end of the day, we're the same. Wow! What else do we have in common? Oh, you value health. What? Oh, you value relationships. Wow! Oh, you value financial freedom, you're working really hard to set your family up to be financially secure, so am I. What do you– oh, you, we do it differently. You have a different job. I'm an entrepreneur. You're a doctor. We're doing things differently on the surface, but we're all doing it because we're fundamentally the same. We are human beings on a journey that we call life. Each of us doing the best that we can with what we have.
And so, here's my question. This is the big question. This is the paradigm shift. What if that's what we based our view of other people on, our shared values, what if instead of judging people based on their opinions and their beliefs, particularly those who have opposing opinions or beliefs that directly oppose ours, but what if instead of viewing them as on the other team, as different from us, what if instead of judging others based on just what they said and what they did, what if we elevated our consciousness or awareness to go, oh, there's more than that? There is more than our superficial differences. And what if instead, we looked at each other's values as the foundation of our judgments, of how we view and experience each other? Just as the family that owns a gun to protect their family and keep their family safe and the family that is wearing a mask when they go anywhere, both the actions are different, but the values are the same. The people are the same, they just go about it in different ways based on their life experiences and the information they've been exposed to, the beliefs they've developed, and then ultimately the resulting actions that they take.
And I want to admit here, personally, I am absolutely guilty of immediately, and we do that, we judge other people. I'm guilty of judging other people. I found myself unconsciously judging other people for their opinions, their beliefs, their words, their actions. And I feel like this came up for me, which is why this podcast is being recorded. Like, I personally feel that I could be way better at striving to get to know people based on who they really are at their core, based on their values, based on what matters most to them, based on the things that we have in common. When you get to know somebody's values, think about it, you're getting to know their heart. You're getting to know their heart what they really care about. And when we judge and assess each other based on our values instead of our opinions and our beliefs, which again, the opinions and beliefs come from the limited information that we've been exposed to. But when we choose values to see each other through that lens, we find that we actually have much more in common than we may realize and we find that we're not just much more similar than we are different, we're virtually the same. We're all the same. We want to be happy. We want safety. We want safety for our loved ones. We want to be healthy. We want to feel good. All of these things are the same.
And the problem right now, the problem right now is that we, as a society, are hyper-focusing on our differences, and the meaning that we're attaching to those differences is causing people to be divided. Now, you can blame who you want for that, right? Well, you could go, yeah, Hal, that's because the media is doing that, or politicians are doing that, or blame it on various ideological groups, but blame doesn't solve anything. The only thing that solves any problem is responsibility, and I want to make the distinction between blame and responsibility because I think these get confused. They're often misunderstood. Blame determines who's at fault. And we can all have our own opinion about who's at fault for any one thing. But responsibility determines who is committed to changing things, and ultimately, we often don't have control over who is to blame, so there's no point in focusing on that because that’s out of our control. We have to stand up. We have to rise up and stand up for the changes that we want to see in the world.
So, regardless of who's to blame, the reality is that right now, people are divided. It's right against left. It's often referred to as toxic tribalism, black people versus white people, Western versus Eastern mysticism, capitalism versus communism versus socialism, liberalism versus conservatism, on and on and on. And you and I, we can't control other people, but you and I get to choose, from this point on, how are we going to see other people through which lens? Are we going to see others and judge others based on their physical attributes, based on what they say, based on what they do, based on our differences? Are we going to hyperfocus on our differences and let that be the reality from which we experience our fellow brothers and sisters? Or are we going to choose to focus on our shared values, to take responsibility? Again, not worried about who's to blame, don't play the blame game. Nobody really wins. Play the responsibility game, and then you win. Take responsibility for being the change, as Gandhi said, being the change that you want to see.
You start treating, and I'm not saying you're not, I might be preaching to the choir, but let's see others based on our shared values, based on our commonalities because think about this, since the beginning of time and forever, for the rest of time, we're all going to have differences, even with your best friend, your best friend, there are tons of differences. And if all you did with your best friend was hyperfocus on your differences, the things you disagreed on, the things you both were not aligned on, the things you liked to do that they don't like to do, and the things they like to do that you don't like to do, if that's all you did, you probably wouldn't be best friends, but why are you best friends? Because you accept each other for your differences and you hyperfocus on your similarities, you hyperfocus on what it is that you have in common. So, that's it.
I'm proposing that we are all the same fundamentally, at our core. And from that place, from that perspective, from that paradigm, it is not healthy for us, it is not necessary and it is not healthy to view each other through the lens of our differences and our disagreements. For our society to survive this turbulent time, we have to come together. We are all family. You are my brothers and sisters. We are all brothers and sisters. We are all family. It is time for us to shift the context of how we view each other. And again, I propose that we all start focusing on what we have in common with other people rather than the differences that are relatively superficial when you really look deep into what makes us the same. You are me, and I am you, and our superficial differences versus our fundamental sameness don't need to be the basis of how we experience each other.
So, I'll close by just saying I'm inviting you to consider the possibility that there is a higher level of consciousness available for all of us to access when it comes to how we see and treat each other. And it's based on who we truly are at our core. We're all doing the best we can with what we believe is true and what we believe is right. We are all the same.
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