It seems that February is the month when the subject of 'relate' is very much at the forefront.
As it is clear from the title, this article discusses equality in the context of relationships.
I admit it was hard to find lots of words for this article as I felt it touches quite deep meanings that reside more in the aesthetic/intuitive realm rather than that of the logic and verbal.
Surely at some point in our lives we have all been in a group where critical comments were expressed about someone, whether someone has small ears, or a big head, whether they are stronger or weaker than others, or are less or more sensitive than others.
In childhood these comments are mainly expressed from parents, siblings and close friends and leave specific marks on the person about what characteristics the environment considers important and worthy (and the whole world to some degree) and what it means to have or not to have them. These comments are based on conscious or unconscious beliefs and they may take the form of gestures or even acts, so they are not only expressed through words.
Not many decades ago women, for example, were considered by men to be inferior to them and therefore words and behaviours were conveying this message and on that basis the relationships between them were created. When some women began to realise that there is essentially no reason for such discrimination, as it is a constructed distinction, then they began to react by defending their right to equality.
The same began slowly, slowly occurring in people with different skin colour, with different sexual preferences, with different religions, with different needs e.g. people in wheelchairs etc.
We are slowly beginning to see (and we have a long way to go) that equality is not just about recognising a legal right, about passing a law, etc. although these are very important and are the basis of any dialogue.
The issue of equality is rather as profound as the issue of self, who we truly are and how much we respect us or not.
Recognising someone else, different from me as equal means I look into the eyes and I see not only the label, the perception, the belief, the interpretation I have for this person because of his difference (in characteristics, behaviour, etc.) from me but I see him for what he is altogether.
I see him as a soul that is in a body which was born and will die like mine, who lives in the same world as me, who needs to eat, drink, rejoice, learn, love and be loved as I do.
Gradually we learn (or perhaps better remember) that equality is not a negotiable thing, it is given similar to the breath you are taking right now.
When we see someone as better or less, more important or more insignificant for who they are, for what they do, for what they like then we are using certain lenses of the world probably made by society or by our own family beliefs.
We are all different, each one of us as much as similar we are, as many common experiences or preferences as we have, we are different from anyone else on the planet for that we are unique. These differences are the ones that remind us of the diversity of life, how rich and creative nature is and of the infinite human possibilities which complete the Whole. By evaluating something as superior or inferior (and man does it repeatedly in nature) we wear the glasses of delusion and adopt a role perhaps higher than that of God by deciding the fate of animals and people based on what features they possess.
So we decide which people will have access to water and food, which in education, which in voting rights and autonomy etc.
On a smaller scale a family may decide that a particular male or female model of behaviour is the correct one over another gender expression, thus, not appreciating and suppressing any 'deviations' that may be presented to children.
We can all decide what suits us best and what is not, what we want to do in our lives, how and with whom to spend it, what we prefer, but to think of something as more or less indicates something deeply problematic. That this person does not appreciate all manifestations of nature and therefore all manifestations of himself as part of it.
So maybe the next time someone judges you for something, you could ask him what he doesn't like about himself and he's projecting it on to you. And vice versa, ask yourself the same question when you realise that you judge someone.