FACT: I ONCE DISLIKED ANY OPINION WITH A DIFFERENCE TO MINE.
While the world celebrates different festivals and greets each other with best wishes, I want to celebrate the differences we have.
I was once the guy who disliked people with a difference to my opinion, lifestyle and vision. I distanced myself from people who did not agree with me and formed a strong and often unpleasant view about them in my mind. It was my way, or highway–no road in between. Either you were on my side, or their side, but had no option to be on a third side or no side at all. I evolved.
An ex of mine taught me the meaning, value and importance of the phrase ‘Celebrate the Differences’.
He was a very focused entrepreneur, a successful hustler, with endless resources and capital to do whatever he wanted and all he wanted was to treat me well with what he had. While I was a proud young boy who did not want to accept his expensive gifts and lavish dining, but we loved each other. I would feel sad that I could not treat him the way he treated me (speaking of material things and comforts) but he told me every single time he enjoyed me taking him to a McDonalds dinner and he felt the same excitement as he did when he took me out to expensive French Cuisine restaurants and picked hefty dinner bills.
He said, “It is not where we eat, what we eat and how much it costs, but who I am eating with that is the reason of my joy!”. My thinking of self-created poor-me-guilt was a burden on my being and on our relationship.
He sat me down and said, ‘Babe, Celebrate the difference. I did not always have what I have today, but I also did not have you. I spend what I can, and on people who I want to because I am grateful for what I have and who I have in my life. Who knows tomorrow I may not have this or you, what good will be all this wealth then, if I don’t have you to spend it on? Or what will be the point in saving it all if we did not celebrate it while we have it?’
It all sounded too fancy and big words. we parted ways for different reasons but with a friendship and respect that will always be the same. It isn’t his money or his looks that kept our friendship alive. It is everything he taught me and how he taught me to accept differences of all kinds, with an open heart, be it money, race, culture, lifestyle, politics or anything else. From him, I learned to want to understand people, and their choices and even if we disagreed, to be cordial and kind to each other with no malice.
He made me a better man, even after we were no longer in love. He made me understand how important it was to celebrate our differences.
Today, I am grateful for different experiences, lessons and messages people bring to my life and help me grow each day.
Today, I am celebrating the differences TOGETHER, with all of YOU.
And together despite our differences we can, and we must continue to try to #INSPIRE in any way we can!
Dedications: Eliott (the ex) | Alicia Couri | Eleni Anastos | Martyr Satish Kumar