Friendship, Respect and Tolerance =

Happiness

Happiness is a Pink Dogwood Blossom

I believe that respect for all people is an essential ingredient in a happy life. When one shares friendship and respect freely with others, I believe it makes life even happier and more rewarding. It’s no surprise that Jesus spoke of loving one’s neighbor and treating others as you would have them treat you. I believe people who consistently show respect and good will to other people, especially to strangers, are less likely to judge people on factors like religion, race, skin color, political views and place of birth. Also, that those who do are more likely to become bigots, racists and extreme nationalists, which in turn can lead to hatred of people whom they judge to be inherently different or who have different values and views. That hatred may come from fear, real or imagined, that “other people” threaten one’s culture or way of life. But one should never take lightly the temptation to hate and should consider the potential effects on one’s self as well as untended consequences.

During the first few years of my retirement I took 10 ocean cruises, and I made a point on every cruise to engage all kinds of strangers, in friendly conversation. That nearly always led to pleasant exchanges and feelings of good will. Because of those conversations and because I had a ponytail which made me easy to spot, by the end of a cruise lots of travelers would call out from somewhere across the ship with greetings like “hello pony-tail” or there goes pony-tail.” Because of those experiences, it would be difficult to hate, or even dislike any of those travelers, many of whom differ from me in significant ways.

I try to do the following at least once every few days I walk up to one , (sometimes two) strangers and say the following:  “I hope you are having a good day and hope that I’m neither the first or last to tell you that today. Almost without exception frowns turn into smiles and smiles into wider smiles. What usually follows is a warm friendly exchange -maybe even a nice chat. Yesterday, I had two such encounters in a local shopping mall: the first was with an elderly gentleman who was navigating a large cart through shoppers and who appeared to be a little down on his luck. My introduction brought a wide grin, and as I walked away after our chat, he waved me good-bye and thanked me for making him feel better. The second encounter was with a couple that was relaxing in a rest area. At first the couple seemed to resist distraction or intrusion, but quickly warmed up to a 20-minute conversation during which the man and his wife competed with each other to tell me more than I needed to know about their long, loving relationships with their pets, a cat and dog.

In summary, an open-minded attitude toward everyone, including strangers, engenders friendship and respect, which in turn, makes for a happier and more rewarding life. Creating friendships with all manner of people makes it less likely that one will be become bigoted, racist or an extreme nationalist. Getting to know strangers and having a friendly and respectful relationship with them will reduce the likelihood that you ever become resentful or hate them – just because they are inherently different or have different views and values.

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4 thoughts on “Friendship, Respect and Tolerance =

  1. After spending three hours at lunch with you today and reading this particular blog, it gives me hope for the human race! Life is too short to feel animosity, anger, hate or resentment toward one another. I believe if we can keep our minds and hearts open, life will be easier! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks for the nice comments, Peggy. I just walked a mile in 90-degree temperature – and stopped six times along the way to chat with people. About how many visitors do you get to your blog site on a normal day? I’m getting between 25 and 35 visitors per day in the last few days, but almost no likes or comments at the blog site. Some facebook friends return to my facebook- link post to leave their comments, even though I ask them not to do that. Do you know a way to determine who all the people are who are visiting my site?

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  3. A wonderful post. I often talk to strangers and it always results in smiles. I wish more people in this world realized the key to making this world a better place – is love for people of all races and backgrounds.. No one should have to live in fear due to their race, or their opinions or any aspect of their lives. Your post has inspired me to try talking to strangers more often through each day of my life. Thank you.

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