Mario Moreno (or Cantinflas), an iconic comedic figure in Mexican and Latin American cinema, once said, “I love…, you love…, he/she loves…, we love…, you love…, they love…; were it not just a conjugation but a reality.”

We often think of the aforementioned as only a conjugation in today’s society. Many of us are clamoring to be heard by the other and crying out to express what we think, believe and feel. We think ourselves and those most similar to us to be unique in our hurt, struggle, pain, experiences, mistreatment, insecurities and having been wronged. We don’t necessarily take into account that those different from us, too, experience life’s various forms of difficulties and that those challenges are part of the experiences that shape cognitions and ideas–ideas that in many instances differ from our own.    

We live in a world with differing ideas shaped by good and bad experiences, and this diversity of thought is to be understood, valued and respected rather than stifled, rejected or eliminated. This aspect of diversity enriches us all.

Benito Juarez, the 26th president of Mexico, said, “Between individuals, as between nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.” What might the world be like if each of us made an effort to be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger and respect the rights of others to think what they think? The call is not to agree with others necessarily or to believe what others believe but simply to learn about or from the other, understand the other, value the other and respect the other.

Let each of us make an effort to be swift to listen to the other’s ideas. Let each of us make an effort to be slow to speak and slow to anger when exposed to different ideas. Let each of us make an effort to console, understand and love the other as opposed to seeking to be consoled, understood or loved.    If we do, we just might realize that we are not so different from one another. We might find ourselves working toward peace, and perhaps “to love” would become more than a conjugation.

A version of this article appeared in the Louisiana Counseling Association’s “Lagniappe Newsletter” (Vol. 38, No. 1).