Far too often, you hear people say, “they aren’t our kind of people” or “they come from the wrong side of the tracks” or even “we don’t associate with people like that” and it’s meant in the worst possible way. It’s meant to imply that the people speaking are a better cut than the people they are talking about.
Oftentimes, we think animals also have a similar code by which they live, and for the most part, animals tend to only mingle with their own kind … except for then they don’t.
Imagine how heart warming it is to read a news story where a dog alerts humans to the fact that he has found a missing cat but is unable to help that missing cat get out of the predicament in which the cat finds itself. That’s what happened recently in Northhamtonshire in the UK.
I found this video (dated 2018) where a gaggle of geese decided to include a piglet in their group. The group he originally belonged to bullied him for being too small and not dark enough. The geese weren’t having any of that kind of behavior in their presence, and so they stepped up to the plate and made the piglet an honorary gossling.
And then there’s Mzee the Aldabra Giant Tortoise who is nearly a hundred and fifty years old who was befriended by Owen the Hippo when the hippo was separated from its herd when it was a baby because of a tsunami in 2004. For two years, they were inseparable at Haller Park in Bamburi (Kenya) until Owen was moved to an adjacent pen after growing to be a full-sized hippo that might accidentally hurt his friend the tortoise.
There are countless stories of animals doing something out of the ordinary for their species that benefits one or more animals from another species. In other words, it’s not an uncommon thing to see out there in the world of predators and prey.
What does that mean when it comes to people?
I think it means we can do better and be better than we are. We can learn to be empathetic towards those who are different from us, and learn to reciprocate instead of retaliate. Rather than look for ways to even the score, isn’t it time to look for ways to pay kindnesses forward instead? It takes the same amount of effort, and results in far more positive end results in the short-term as well as the long-term.
I’m not saying people should endanger themselves. People absolutely should not do that. If someone believes they are entitled to commit crimes without consequences, absolutely distance yourself from someone like that. Not only are they a bad influence, chances are they will bring that bad behavior to your front door for you to deal with instead of addressing that bad behavior themselves.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t call out bad behavior when they see it. People absolutely should do that.
But when you have a choice between making someone else’s life miserable because you can and you don’t like them, or making someone else’s life better because you can and it doesn’t matter whether you like them or even know them, focus on the option that is filled with promise and positive emotions.
Go with the option that becomes a wave within an ocean of compassion and consideration.
Instead of pointing to the times when you would have wanted others to treat you that way but didn’t, and using that as a reason to not help someone else, look at those same times and make the decision to break that cycle by being the person who cares and helps.
It doesn’t cost a penny to say something nice anymore than it doesn’t cost a penny to say something nasty, but the difference is that in saying something nasty, you diminish yourself in the process of diminishing the other person.
In a world with innumerable dark clouds, be a silver lining to someone else and in doing so, you are your own silver lining.
7 May 2021