Monday, November 3, 2008

Everybody Has a Story

I watched an Oprah episode years ago that still resonates with my heart. It was about the assumptions we make about people and how we are often wrong in our prejudgment. Everyone one has a story; you can not judge a book by it's cover because you will almost always be wrong about its content.

Though the episode was enlightening, being human I still make that mistake. I say things like "That's just [insert name of friend whose behavior is typical of them] and never second guess what causes them to be that way. But everytime the true reveals itself, my heart sinks and I am reminded that this person I dismissed is the way he/she is for a real reason.

I have a friend who has always been eccentric. We've always loved this person for their quirks but would dismiss their behavior as though it was in their nature. Recently, I found out it is deeper than that; this behavior is more biological than characteristic. I have been grieving for a few days now, because I am guilt-ridden. For everytime I laughed at a joke that poked fun, for everytime I shook my head, rolled my eyes, or sighed, for everytime I was impatient; I am deeply sorry. I am even a bit ashamed.

It all makes sense now. And, ironically, it shouldn't have to. Learning that someone has a troubled past or a mental disorder does not excuse YOUR behavior. Whether or not that detail was disclosed, that person should not have been mistreated in the first place. As a person, one should accept and love others without regard to perception.

I thought I learned a lot from the episode of Oprah. Maybe I did not learn enough.

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