A World Full of Synonyms: Are We All Trying to Say the Same Things?

28 May

There’s a lot of turmoil in the world these days (as always.) Everyone is striving to have their voice and perspective heard, sometimes in productive ways, and sometimes not.

It made me think about my travels and the many people I’ve met who were “different” than me around the world, and even here in the United States.

Regardless of what our passport stamp says, we have a lot more in common that we might realize.

At the end of the day, it seems like most conversations about important things can be boiled down to a few ideas. Depending on who is talking, the ideas will be dressed in specific clothing and look slightly different. But, really it’s always a few similar ideas, presented in what appear to be slightly different ways.

Here are what I have found people to be saying consistently, regardless of their background, demographics, culture, income, religion, politics, or education.

Feeling like you want to be happy, and you want others to be happy, seems to be universal.

“I want to be happy.”

“I want to feel safe.”

“I want my family and friends to be secure and not worry.”

“I want to be connected to people.”

“I want to make a difference.”

“I want to feel like this life isn’t the end of everything; I want to stay connected to the world and people I love after I die.”

“I want the freedom to learn and grow and have adventures – and I want people I love to have that as well.”

If you think about all the people you know and care about, and all the people you’ve met anywhere, it’s likely they have/had some or all of these things in common. Maybe you know that because they said so directly, or maybe you gleaned it from conversations, or the things they did and the places they went.

There are undoubtedly many other fine nuances to these and other important ideas.

Think about it, though. Think of someone you feel like you have “nothing in common” with, because your religion or political viewpoint is different, or you grew up in completely different ways in different places. Do you think they have those same desires, if you stripped away the formalities?

Travel is a brilliant way to explore the world and make it feel both bigger and smaller at the same time.  We have some much in common!

Travel is one of my personal favorite things because the more you get into an unusual and different environment, the more you can viscerally feel and sense how similar people really are at the heart of it. Even if you are a different religion, in a different land, with a different political philosophy, speaking a different language, the similarities in hope, happiness, and love are remarkable and easy to feel.

Although there are many religions and viewpoints, the common values are often similar.

While we might all appear to be different, we’re really all using synonyms and saying very similar things in only slightly different ways.

What insights have you gotten from conversations or your travels?  Please share in the comments!

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