Bear's Blog

the muppets

Happy to be Me

Jun 29, 2023

Good advice from the muppets! While each of us is unique, we group ourselves - and others - into general categories. We sort people by race, age, and gender. We are even identified officially according to these parameters.

To be suspicious of the unfamiliar, of anyone who doesn’t look, sound, act, love or live like us is a basic animal instinct. It arises out of fear and judgment. Distinguishing “us” from “them” can be important for physical safety in certain contexts (think military uniforms).

Do we continue this bias because of a need for psychological safety from the other? These automatic assumptions take time and awareness to override, but we can learn to accept people beyond face value.

“Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being.” - JB Pritzker, Governor of Illinois

It can be more comfortable to be with your tribe or other “like-minded” individuals. Fortunately that kind of affiliation is more open and free form, especially today. We are a multicultural society, and as time goes on colors and features are more blended. We like to be seen and valued for who we are without labels (including being defined by a job title.) Recent generations have embraced “otherness” and the freedom to choose what is right for ourselves in many ways.

This and every month should be Pride month. All people are a combination of what could be called masculine and feminine energies; it's just the ratios that differ. I was always curious why the first thing a stranger would ask about my infant was, boy or girl? A pink headband on a bald infant looks silly (and there is no blue version for boys.) Sight unseen, people think I’m male because of my name. Are there no female bears in the world?

Before Google, I would request medical research via mail. It was assumed I was not only male, but a Doctor (because nursing and healing are seen as feminine attributes.) I just recently heard about archeological evidence that debunks the theory that women were primarily gatherers and men were hunters. Women were buried with some of their prized weapons as often as men!

If we are a mix of energies, it then becomes a question of which aspects of ourselves we identify with. You can even have a long series of past lives as a particular gender that influences how you feel, think and act - and the comfort in which you inhabit this life's body. In a free society, all choices that don't harm others are theoretically allowed. The very term “tolerate” implies that while we may feel differently, we understand that all deserve the same respect and dignity to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Acceptance of those not like us is a key concept of our democratic ideals.

Ultimately it's good to remember that we are all mysterious creatures. Stay open and curious. Just when you think you know someone well, be prepared for surprises!

Peace, love and healing -

Bear

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