The Common Denominator

In Relationships on March 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM

It’s a lot easier to find the common denominator in another individual than what society may have led us to believe.  You’d be surprised how we are all interconnected as human beings.  It used to be “six degrees of separation” but honestly, now, with the help of modern technology; we can see it’s really only three or four degrees.  We have more things in common with each other than we have differences.  Commonality is a bond.  Differences are barriers.  They are weak barriers that are meant to be broken down.  This is why we use the word “common bond”.   No one that I know of ever uses the terminology “difference bond”.  Why is that?  It’s because differences don’t bind us.  They are not bonds.  They are weak barriers that people cling to in order to justify their discriminate and indifferent behaviors.  They are deflating life rafts that will cause people within those rafts to sink and go nowhere.  Commonality, common characteristics and similarities, on the other hand, are bonds.  Common bonds are what bring us closer together.  They bind us in conversations, relationships, and human existence.  They are the strength of human fulfillment.

You bond with people with whom you share things in common.  As soon as you find that connection, you click.  You don’t even focus on your differences, as they seem to dissipate in significance as you find more similarities to which you strengthen your bond.  And, while differences may ultimately drive a wedge between people with whom you once had a connection, the original common bond that brought you together will always hold the greater strength.  And, if it is so desired, that common bond can even melt the wedge of difference, overcome what ever drove you apart, reconnect you and move you forward.  The power of common bond is greater than differences and can prevail when given the chance.

It sounds simple to focus on our bonds rather than our differences.  The reality, however, is that for many, it’s just easier to see differences and justify the non-existence of our relationship.  Particularly when the differences are more apparent, there’s not even a need for many of us to enter into the same room.  I’m black, you’re white; I’m a woman, you’re a man; I’m straight, you’re gay; I’m Christian, you’re Muslim; I’m tall, you’re short, I’m able-bodied, you’re handicapped; I’m dark, you’re light; I’m young, you’re old; I’m old, you’re young…the list goes on.  This is the reality of differences.  It’s easy, more comfortable, more familiar to stand with what you know than to take the risk that your apparent differences will overshadow any chance of discovering common connections.  But, I am confident that if we take that risk and walk into that room full of apparent differences, we can uncover and discover at least one common bond that makes an overpowering connection.  It only takes one link, one knot of similarity to melt that degree of difference.  I think Kevin Costner summed it up best when he spoke at Whitney Houston’s funeral.  He shared a list of differences that seemingly overshadowed any thought of connection but it was that one common bond that they chose to focus on that not only brought them together for a lifetime of friendship; but it brought a whole nation together to witness broken down barriers on the silver screen.  Had they not found church as their common denominator, the life of Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, the movie, “The Bodyguard” and the soundtrack will have taken a turn that I would be willing to bet would not have been so successful.

So, as we enter into this month of March and we look to something that will inspire our continuous “12 for 12 Love Revolution”, I challenge you to find the common denominator in people you meet.  Find the common denominator when you come across someone who you are pretty sure has NOTHING in common with you.  And, if all else fails, smile!  At the end of the day we can all smile.  And, no matter what, we all smile in the same language.

Common Bonds.  We have more in common than not.  That’s What’s Up!


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