Thursday, May 6, 2021

Is It Wrong or Is It Different?

 As I grow older and wiser I have become more tolerant with other people and their point of view and their way of living. If we all step back and take a look at this crazy world we can easily see it takes a lot of different kinds of people to make this old world go around. I've began to recognize the difference in people is what makes life interesting. I now see someone much different than I and now say "that's interesting". This brings me to the title of this blog "Is it wrong or is it different?" So many of us look at someone who is dressed wildly different than us or living wildly different than us as just plain wrong. Our way is the right way and anything outside our comfort zone of what we think is the right way to live is wrong in our eyes. But is it really that wrong? Isn't it more in the category of "different". I have no plans or desire to color my hair a bright blue or purple color. If I see someone on the street with purple hair, is that wrong or is it just different? Just because I wouldn't do my hair that color does not mean that it doesn't work just fine for the person that does.

Is the neck tattoo of someone's latest girlfriend wrong or is it just a little different? Again I would never get a neck tattoo but many consider it artsy and a display of their freedom to do what they want. Is the huge ear gauge wrong or different? Again not for me, but if you want a huge hole in your ear, knock yourself out. 

The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. The key is that it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. So, if someone is pursuing their happiness and it doesn't infringe upon my rights, more power to them. Obviously everyone pursues happiness in different ways. Some are misguided and some are self destructive, but most are just different than the way you would do it. If you pursue happiness with drugs or alcohol or other destructive behavior, you can bet you may very well infringe on other's rights with the results of your behavior. This would definitely be wrong, not different. 

This country has many laws and rules to help us all live safely and in harmony. The Bible has many rules and moral directives that should be followed if you are a believer. The violations of these things are wrong rather than different. Breaking the laws and rules is wrong, exhibiting your individuality without infringing on others is different. 

We have all seen the quirky car or truck with a homemade paint job or hand painted graphics. We have seen the car with stuffed animals tied to the grill or different items glued directly to the paint. We have seen the cars covered in bumper stickers or homemade signs. We have seen the house with the neon paint or the collection of used appliances in the side yard. We have seen the mohawk, buzz cut, dreadlocks and every other type of hairstyle. We have seen the wildest clothing or mismatched clothing. All of these are just different, not wrong. We all shake our heads at those that are different and mutter "that's just wrong", but we need to change that attitude to one that says "that's interesting and different". 

I heard a saying several years ago that reminds me that we are all different even though we may think we are the cool kid on the block. The saying is "Everyone is someone else's weirdo!". Let that sink in the next time you look at someone and say "Look at that weirdo" and think to yourself that someone out there is looking at you thinking the same thing!

Have you become more tolerant in retirement of those that are different than you? Any particular story that you want to share on how you have embraced the differences that make us all an interesting part to mankind?


  1. Well, I think there is both “different” and “wrong”. Things that hurt other people or sentient beings are wrong, whether you are a religious person or an atheist. If someone wants to have a giant tattoo covering their whole body, no thanks for me but that’s just fine for them.
    I don’t think I have gotten more tolerant because I am older, but years of teaching teenagers and young adults certainly stretched my tolerance meter on the appreciation side. I learned a lot from being around young people that my children say “kept me thinking young”.
    There’s a lot of weird stuff out there but a sense of humor can elevate weird to fun and interesting. I love the saying, “You do you!”
    I enjoy your thought-provoking posts.

    1. We should all try the "thinking young" sometimes. You would definitely need to think different when teaching teenagers and young adults. Thanks for the comment!

  2. My mother would say if it didn't fit her idea of right then it was wrong. I, however, am more tolerant but could probably watch myself at times because it is very easy to assume the worst when you see something "different". Thanks for the nudge!!

    1. We all have those moments when our opinion is always the right opinion. It is something we all can work on. Thanks for the comment!