We all have a common thread

When you think of your neighbor next door or the guy that jogs beside you at the gym, you briefly see their faces in your mind and think about who they are. You might think to yourself, “She’s a nice lady, and she always waves hello,” or “He always sanitizes the machine and asks me how my Monday was…good dude.”

Maybe it never goes further than that. Maybe one day you catch their names and ask where they are from, which might make you feel like you have a good grasp on who they are. You decide they are good people.

Now, ask yourself, could you handle really knowing them?

You don’t know to whom they pray while lying in bed at night or where their faith is placed. If you knew, would that change the way you feel about their friendly waves? Would their voting ballots turn your stomach enough to make you decide maybe Monday isn’t the best day for leg day? These are things you don’t know. You don’t ask, so how would you?

There are other things you don’t know about them. You don’t know that they work two jobs, just like you. You don’t know how much they love their kids and how much they pray for them to grow up in a safe world. You would probably understand if you knew. You have loved ones you pray for, too.

But if you really knew more about the things these people do and face, could you relate or understand?

I find comfort in common bonds I make with strangers. Even if it’s simply a bond made through similar grades on a hard test, I find myself sighing in relief and thinking “Whew, I’m not alone.” As young people growing up in a world with so many challenges and so many uphill battles, we should be looking for the common threads first.

We all have something in common, big scale and small scale.

If you’re a student, you probably wake up each day with the drive to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. You probably don’t even think about the fact that every other student you pass in the hallway may have started the day with those same feelings. As students, we share many of the same struggles and achievements. Sometimes, you come out on top, and your long hours in the library pay off. Other days, you fail. These things happen to every student.

If you’re a woman, you should know that we all share similar wants. We all want to be taken seriously. We all want our tenderness to not be ridiculed and our ideas to be valued. This is a commonality.

If you’re an American, you know that the state of our country is a troublesome divide.

We should all share the common desire for peace.

Empathy is accepting, knowing and understanding someone because you are similar or share similar experiences. Having empathy for others means realizing that political or racial differences don’t really matter because we have so many similarities. It is important to practice empathy first and search for common threads.

You’ll soon notice that differences don’t matter so much, after all.