Our ability to lead significant lives depends on how we interpret others and their actions. We are all different—biologically, culturally, ethnically—and we all grow and change at different stages. It is our goal to be able to suspend judgement, going beyond mere tolerance, to attain and express true, mindfulness acceptance of others, just as they are.
Significant leaders welcome and value uniqueness and diversity. Their stance of openness is grounded in a deep acceptance of their own authentic selves and allows them to inspire, teach and lead others in a way to leave a lasting legacy.
There is a story told of a woman who was in an airport, waiting for her flight. While she waited, she purchased some magazines and a bag of cookies, then found a place to sit down until her flight was announced.
As she read her magazine, she noticed the man sitting next to her quietly reached into her bag of cookies and took two. She was incredulous, but she didn’t say anything to the man. A few moments later, he snuck two more cookies from her bag. She was getting upset. She couldn’t believe someone would be so obvious about stealing from her. Every time she ate a cookie, the man would eat one, too.
It finally came down to the final cookie and she wondered if he would take that one for himself. The man glanced at her, reached into her bag of cookies and took the last one. But then he smiled, broke it in half and gave her part of the cookie. She had never been more incensed. She glared daggers at the man, took the cookie half, gathered up her belongings and moved across the room.
Her flight was finally called and she dashed to her seat, hoping to avoid this horrible man. She sank into her seat, reached into her bag for another magazine—and found her bag of cookies, untouched, in the bottom of her bag.
She instantly realized that she had been the cookie thief, that she had judged this man (who had shared his final cookie with her) completely wrong. She vowed to be less judgmental, and not as quick to be critical.
Let us strive for total acceptance, first for ourselves, and then for all human beings. Let us give up the judgements we place on one another and cleanse our consciences so that we can all continue to become whole, authentic people.