Welcome to June's Useletter!
Wow, what a response to last month's Useletter with regards my request for topics from everyone... I have enough to keep me going for quite a while!
The first thing you will notice is the new look and feel of the 'Useletter' and I trust that it is simple and easy to navigate, plus that it plays on all e-readers, etc.
Eventually... to this month's topic. I was surprised at how many people responded to last month''s request and who wanted me to talk on racism and discrimination, and how many issues there still exist in the world today. Some people consider it to be a controversial and difficult topic to tackle as someone somewhere will always be offended.
I trust that won't be the case today! Firstly let me say that it saddens me deeply that in a technological advanced and modern society of today, where information and issues can be discussed so freely, that people still feel the need to be judgmental on issues of race, religion and culture. If anything I am of the opinion that most wars and negativity on this earth are largely a result of this very behavior. Without sounding too naïve, I hope my small input here helps towards a positive shift of tolerance for all.
As you know, I enjoy sharing personal stories as I believe people relate to these more emotionally and also, through personal experience, others can learn and ponder and hopefully shift their perceptions.
My situation is kinda unique, I finished my schooling in South Africa during the apartheid years and left the country due to the politics of the time. However, I had learnt English in South Africa - hence I had a South African accent. (I saw everyone else around me as having a weird accent!) Moving to England in the 80's trying to seek fame and fortune as an entertainer was a tough learning curve, as every time I opened my mouth, the British would label me a racist due to my South African accent. Of course, being originally German, I defended myself by telling everyone, "Nein, I am from Germany aus!" Guess what? They hated me more! Those were tough times. I had to go for elocution lessons, I had to learn to adapt very fast, become thick skinned, and not let other peoples false preconceptions bring me down. It wasn't easy. But it was a time that I personally understood the meaning of what it was like to be picked upon, merely by how you spoke and where you came from.
In later years in the early 1990's working on the cruise liners as an entertainer, I remember the first time docking in Barbados, where the officials locked my wife in our cabin and forbade her to leave the ship, merely because she had a South Africa passport. The same happened to her in Morocco! By the way, when I had met my wife in the 80's in South Africa, she was a nurse working in the poor areas delivering babies among the black population. Many of our friends at the time were black. Back to the ship story... simply because of the nationality of her passport, she was discriminated against! Myself, being German, had a huge problem with this and wanted to take on all these officials... but the cruise line threatened to fire me if I cause an incident! Mmm and that is once again when the sad truth about hatred and discrimination sunk in. Of course many of my black friends laughed at me when I mentioned this to them, claiming that racism can only be from a caucasian against other races, and not the other way around... I still haven't quite figured that one out yet?
You see, I have always been of the opinion that no matter who you are - regardless of race, religion or culture, if you judge someone else because they are different to you... you are discriminating against that person. If anything, life has taught me that not one of us can afford to be judgmental towards another person whom we don't know! By simply looking at a stranger standing in front of us, or on television and passing judgment without knowing anything about what makes that human being tick, is just plain naïve! The worst for me is that in many religions, the holy scriptures actually mention that one should not judge, yet many of the biggest hypocrites I have come across stem from these very institutions!
Here's the deal... every country, every religion, every race, every culture has good and bad people in it. Luckily the majority are good. However, why is it that we as humans, let a few rotten apples amongst a certain group of people, judge everyone in that group as falling from the same tree? What gives any of us the right to do this? The whole Iraq saga is a classic example of this.
So someone is different to me. Big deal! If anything this should intrigue me and make me want to learn more about that person, rather than shun them away! Surely this makes sense?
Last year I spoke in my 144th country! Guess what, I have laughed, cried and loved and will still do so in the future with different people throughout this world. I have eaten with the Bedouins in their tents in the desert, I have cried in shame with disabled friends at the way society tries to hide them away, I have stood up for my minority brothers when others have shamed them, I have held dying AIDS victims in my arms and comforted them while others have looked down on them, I have spent time in Iran and met the most beautiful people on earth, while the rest of the world has other views... I could go on and on! How often have we looked down upon a beggar at the side of the road and wrongly judged that person? Did you ever think that this beggar may also have a child and a spouse that looks up to them and respects them? So who are we to pass judgement?
It's time everyone woke up and pulled their heads out of their own...! It's time that we all learn how to accept other people unconditionally! Of course this is easier said than done, as we have all been influenced by socio-cultural circumstances within the country and culture we have been brought up in, plus learning the preconceived views of our parents hasn't help much either.
Interestingly, years ago my wife worked for the blood transfusion service and from her I learnt that blood is categorized as A,B,O positive or negative. Did you know that blood from an Asian person isn't yellow? It's Red! Blood from a white person is also red! Blood from a black man can heal an Indian man. Blood form an Italian person can save the life of a Hispanic person. Wow! Can you imagine this? Blood has no agenda - it brings life to everyone! Open us up, and we are all the same on the inside! Makes you think, huh?
I'll never forget my time on the cruise liners when we would sit in the wardroom at dinner with a team of people from all over the world around the table. We were all from different cultures, countries and all spoke different languages. After a while we would start picking up unique and wonderful words from each others' cultures and often one of us would utter a sentence using words from about 4 or 5 different languages, as each was so special and unique in that specific context. In fact I distinctly recall one contract where a group of us sat down one night and debated the whole race issue. Here we were, from so many different cultures, yet we all got on with each other, respected each other, and were true friends. Any guesses why?
Our conclusion was that there was only one boss on board, the Captain. He has one set of rules for all of us. No matter who we were, we all had to follow these rules equally. It was never about your beliefs, religion of race - it was about getting the job done. In fact we all joked and concluded that the only reason everything worked out the way it did, was because we had no politicians running the ship! Interesting point, huh?
In a nutshell, I would like to conclude with the following:
Stop judging others by past happenings around you.
Stop judging others due to learned conditioning from your peers, friends and family.
Stop being influenced by sensationalist media reports and hence passing judgement.
Remember that happiness will never follow you if you live in the past and if you formulate your own belief systems due to conditioned learning from others.
If anything, learn to love yourself first. Learn to look into a mirror and see your own face and say to yourself. "Hey, I dig you! You are awesome. I love you unconditionally for who you are!" And once you can do this, guess what? You will be able to start doing it to others you meet, no matter where they come from.
When you meet someone for the first time, consciously look into their eyes and think to yourself, "I will not judge you, but give you a clean sheet of paper and treat and respect you as I would every other human being." This is what my life has taught me. Give everyone a clean sheet. Leave it up to them to prove that they are not worthy of your love and respect, but NEVER pre-judge them. I always say, "I will never judge anyone to be a schmuck, he has to prove that to me him/herself!"
And yes, someone may treat you wrongly. But again you have a choice of how to handle this. Nobody can make you feel bad, except yourself. Today if someone behaves in a discriminatory way towards me, I choose not to be offended. This is my choice! In fact I have learnt to love myself, and because of this I actually tend to feel sorry for that other person as I walk away. You see, in my eyes they have not learnt to love themselves and are totally insecure in who they are - hence their negative behavior. If anything, my heart goes out to them.
Thanks for reading my rantings and I trust I have shifted your perceptions on the whole issue. Let us all learn to love and respect each other in a non judgmental way - don't your think the whole world would change for the better? I do! Be part of that change and spread this message to all around you. Let us all start the wheel turning to a more loving future for all.
Have a great June and I look forward to chatting again next month.
And don't forget... go have a look at my new FREE Video Course on Life’s Truths at www.mindshiftguru.com.