Peanut butter and jelly. It came to mind this morning but not for the reason you might think. I was thinking about our minds and the way they operate and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich came to mine.
You see nothing we run across in this world is good or bad; it’s how we think about it that makes it so. Everything is neutral, really. Not kidding.
Concept seem a little too “mind-blow-y” for you? Try this one on for size instead. There is a simply made peanut butter and jelly sandwich in front of both of us. Nothing gourmet, simple.
Let’s say I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You hate them. The sandwich is just sitting there. It didn’t do anything to either one of us, yet I see it with eyes of admiration and you see it with eyes of disgust. What’s the difference?
My perspective is such that it equates consumption of said sandwich with feelings of pleasure. Your perspective is such that potential consumption of said sandwich would surely culminate in nausea and distress. So same sandwich, two human beings who are 99.9% the same, totally different outcomes.
Our perspectives are formed from the experiences we have taken in during our entire lives. Our entire lives as INDIVIDUALS. So I may love the sandwich because it brings back fond memories of my grandmother making the best ones EVA when I was a kiddo. You? You may have been forced to eat them every day for your ENTIRE school career because that’s what mom packed. By the time you hit Jr. High you were quite savvy at swapping them for something more appealing, like bologna and cheese, let’s say.
Why bring this up? Why the sandwich? Because this is HUGE! Not the sandwich, but the meaning behind it.
With everything in life, in every human being, our perspectives are there, and for many people, they are ENTRENCHED in them. Solidly. I’m talking no movement, people. Here’s where we get ourselves into trouble as a collective.
The lovers of the PB&J UNITE and we protest against the “haters” (At least that’s how WE see them, Bastards!) I mean, what’s not to like? Duh!
Similarly the folks opposed to the propagation of the PB&J are disgusted by the lovers on the other side of the street, with all their sickeningly sweet delight.
So voices raise, arguments ensue, chaos takes hold, ANARCHY!
Now take my sandwich metaphor away and toss in something political, social, religious, economic, ecologic in nature, you name it. Any issue and I mean ANY is “neutral” until we start spinning it with our perspectives and subsequently build stories with our minds.
What’s my point?
What if the lovers and the haters on any side of anything just gave one another the space to consider where the other side might be coming from? You don’t have to completely change your perspective but can you be persuaded to loosen up the grip a bit? I mean seriously folks it’s the GRIP that’s killing us as a society today.
For a moment, just for a moment, take a breath, step back from an issue you may be a little too close to and put yourself in their shoes, or better yet, find out WHY they love their sandwiches so much or why they don’t. In other words, give them the grace of space while you hold space for potentially softening your stance on some things.
"Oh how interesting, tell me more about why preserves vs. jelly, makes it in your opinion?" Or "Wow! Your allergic reactions to peanuts sound downright frightening, how long have you had it?"
All I am saying…
Is give peace, people or possibly even peanut butter and jelly, a chance.