Being kind to others has been in the forefront of the media lately due to an a recent situation in which Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush were sitting next to each other watching a football game. She said she received a lot of backlash from viewers and fans who were mad about her being a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican. She publicly addressed this criticism explaining that she has friends who have different views than hers and said, “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush,” DeGeneres said. “In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different.”
She then followed up with a clarification of her signature close at the end of her show. “When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.”
Many were quick to thank Ellen for reminding others that it is okay to disagree with others on politics and other important beliefs. So many see a society that is getting off track on being able to talk through disagreements and use them in a positive way – to spark new ideas of compromise and solutions.
Myself, I felt very disheartened that she needed to clarify for her followers that they should to be kind to everyone. How do you not know that already in your heart? Where has empathy and compassion gone? Some people feel so entitled to their opinion they cannot see beyond their perception of reality?
People will always judge you on a certain level based upon their beliefs and perceptions, that doesn’t mean it’s about you. Certainly people do not have to be harsh, rude or callous if they judge someone they perceive to be different in a negative way. Everyone does it in some way. I don’t care who you are. If you do not “judge” someone or something, you have no idea what you like and what you don’t like, what ideals and beliefs you want to follow.
Everyone’s perceptions are based on their own life experiences. What someone thinks of you, does not matter. It’s what you think of you that ultimately guides you to where you want to be.
I understand some people will say, “Well Bush made policy decisions that affect gay people” such as keeping traditional marriage between a man and a woman. But ultimately, has that affected Ellen and her wife Portia from loving each other as a married couple would? It’s all perspective.
Hopefully with her platform, Ellen has touched many hearts and called for a much needed discussion in today’s society about “getting along.” As for me, I will continue to treat others based on their value as a human being, not for race, gender, sexual preference or any other factor other than being kind.
Email Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.