One of my top ten favorite quotes of all time is from a man from history that I so admire–Abraham Lincoln. He said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” The path he was forging in our history created a lot of adversaries holding hard to the status quo, and some acted quite mean in the attacks on him. Yet, he acted more out of love than out of fear based on all of my readings.
This quote says volumes to me. It says, what he was immediately feeling. He acknowledges this in his spoken words, “I don’t like that man.” But, rather than elaborate all the reasons that he doesn’t like him, as many of us might, he realizes that not liking him is not what he wants. You could say that he realizes he is out of alignment with his inner truth, or his inner compassion. He realizes that the reason he doesn’t like him is mainly because he doesn’t really know him and that deep down he is probably different than he seems right now, so he states, “I must get to know him better.” The first part is acknowledging the fear, and the resolve is turning to love.
I put the quote into Google and found a site where someone asked, “should we strive to be the same?” The “best answer” based on relevance shown, the person said this: “Horrible advice. I don’t like many people. . . many vain, selfish, shallow, arrogant, pig headed, racist, sexist, manipulative, dysfunctional, insane people. If I ‘got to know them better’ it’d be keeping me from ‘getting to know’ the sane, rational, kind, caring healthy people I like. No wonder Lincoln was a depressed individual with suicidal tendencies.”
Hmmmm. I wonder where this person is? Fear or love? It’s so interesting that this answer was listed as the best answer. But, it is practical. This person is watching the clock and there’s only so much time, so why bother with someone I don’t like because I need to spend my time on agreeables.
I wonder if this person realizes that he or she takes themselves everywhere they go?
Our fears are so easily ‘disguised as practicality.’ Or logic. Or prejudice. Or being among the chosen ones. Or whatever we decide to make up to justify our position and dress up our fears.
Notice how many names the respondent used to describe the person: vain, selfish, shallow, arrogant, pig headed, racist, sexist, manipulative, dysfunctional, insane. I’m certain they could have gone further. The more we want to dislike a person, the more names we call them, to strip them of their humanity, to make them less and less like us. All of this is the ego trying to make itself number one and everyone else as the enemy. And, of course, we only take this a few tiny steps further when we call a disagreement war.
We really do create our own little world, and some are quite little perhaps, but to make things really, really simple, there are only two choices we have at our disposal: love or fear. As Jim said, we are often very good at disguising our fear in practicality, but no matter how we dress it, it is fear. As we decide that love might feel better, work better, bring together rather than segregate, we can begin to choose love. As we become habitual love-choosers, our world expands to become a world big enough to encompass all.
Try Choosing Love. See How It Fits You.
Spread Some Joy Today–Joy is love. Love is joy. All is appreciation.