“Is he down?”
Growing up in North Jersey and later in Miami, that’s the question I would occasionally hear as people searched to understand what’s up with the new kid.
Looking back, what they really wanted to know was:
- Should we accept him?
- Does he accept us?
- Does he fit?
- Or is he a misfit? misfit. misfit…
Makes ya wonder: Am I, are you, are we…misfits?
Dr. Brené Brown, Social Work Researcher and Professor at the University of Houston, suggested in her popular TEDx Talk that:
“(Human) connection is why we’re here. Connection is what it’s all about. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The ability to feel connected is neurobiologically…why we are here…Shame is the fear of disconnection.*”
So if the point is to connect, what connects us? Is it our race, religion, ethnicity or any of the host of ways we organize, slice, dice, label and segment each other?
If like me, you are fortunate to share meaningful connections with folks from a broad spectrum of races, religions, ethnicities, etc., I suspect that your ability to connect may stem from two key factors: (1) shared experiences, and (2) open, curious and respectful minds regarding those experiences you don’t share.
In this land of misfit souls, we may all never fully fit, but if we understand and respect our universal desire to better connect with each other, we all may fit together just fine…and that makes you down in my book. How ’bout yours?