If We Responded This Way We Would Change The World

40 comments

A story on CNN caught my attention. (Thanks, Nikky, for sending me the link.) It was about a photo someone took of a stranger in an airport and posted on Reddit.

It was a photo of a Sikh woman with a turban and facial hair.

This story was posted on September 22, with the caption, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” As you can imagine, it invited many comments, ranging from others who teased the woman to people appalled at making fun of her.

Balpreet Kaur

The photo was so widely passed around, within days the woman in the picture, Balpreet Kaur, a neuroscience and psychology student at Ohio State, learned about the photo from a friend who saw it on Facebook.

Balpreet Kaur

Her response was gracious and inspirational. This is what she commented on the post:

 

“Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair,” she wrote. “Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being.”

Kaur said her religion believes in focusing on actions instead of the physical beauty.

“I’m not embarrassed or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positive] that this picture is getting because it’s who I am,” she wrote.

She encourages anyone who sees her on campus to “come up and say hello,” and notes that it’s not her face that’s important, but the smile and happiness that lie behind it.

“My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognized that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?” (CNN)

Forgiveness

I wish our political campaigners had a dose of this higher consciousness. I wish the focus was more on service, rather than disparaging each other and pleasing big donors. The mud-slinging seems so childish to me. Like the person who posted the photo of Balpreet Kaur. Picking a thin description of someone’s appearance and defining them with it. Why haven’t we gotten beyond the “us/them” mentality and see that “us/us” is a better plan. Divided we can never stand and move forward.

Balpreet’s response did not alienate those that made fun of her, she dissolved the conflict rather than feed it.  We, every one of us, have the capacity to forgive, explain, understand, rather than accuse, defend, and ridicule. Let’s use that capacity.

Please share.


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40 Comments

Nadine Feldman

Lovely. What an extraordinary response!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Nadine, I am in awe.

Lisa W. Rosenberg

Balpreet’s courage and calm is so admirable, so rare in the political discourse these days. Great post!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Lisa, isn’t it beautiful? This is the wise women’s way.

jen

You are so right Jodi, this wonderful woman is what true grace really looks like.

I always taught my children that when someone puts you down to make themselves feel better-bigger-or right it says volumes about the lack of depth of their character.

This in my opinion is truly the problem with our politicians and the mean spirited climate surrounding politics today.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I wonder why they haven’t grown up too much???? This is why there is war and greed and power over, too. I am convinced. All driven by fear that we are not enough and the compensation for that. It will take the women to fix it!

Tina Barbour

It was wonderful to read of such a woman. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. She had a beautiful response. And yes, wouldn’t the world be different if we all responded with the grace and peace that she responded with.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Tina, I am going to try it!

Kelly Hashway

We can definitely learn a lot from her.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Too true, Kelly. It has made me think so much!

Amy Colburn

“We are all one.” Period. 🙂 Thanks for this post!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

That’s all that needs to be said. It may take a while for it to sink in, but we are all headed there.

Robert

What a super woman.

I would love to meet her.

We are what we are and it’s always a shame when other people can’t accept that.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I agree, I think she and the photographer plan to meet. Isn’t that cool?

Brenda

We all can learn from her, beautiful said. She is who she is meant to be and rejoices in her beauty. We should all carry that same torch within.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Would that we could, Brenda, it would be w wondrous, joyful life!

a

Her response was beautiful! And you captured the reason it was beautiful so wonderfully…
“Balpreet’s response did not alienate those that made fun of her, she dissolved the conflict rather than feed it.”

She dissolved the conflict…..I love that! She didn’t defend or make counter-accusations. She spoke her truth in love and that dissolved the conflict:)
Thanks Jodi!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks so much for this comment! And you picked up on something I have been rolling over in my head, “dissolving conflict”. It is a term Michael White used and I feel it calling my name. I really see it as a way of the future. Your acknowledgment of it was validating to me!

Greg at Tiny Bit Better

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing such an amazing example of grace and wisdom. Thank you for, once again, opening my eyes in a whole new way on something I thought I understood. Excellent!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

It is limiting when we think we understand. We may miss a richer level we never thought possible. Thanks for accepting my invitation to open!

Lesley

An inspiring response from Balpreet which leads me to think again about the focus on body image which is so dominating of women in my culture; her words allow or pave the way for a different response and this is a story that I will pass on to others.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Lesley, I totally agree. Puts so much in perspective, and since I am from the culture I am, I know there are depths I cannot understand. But what a model of gorgeousness! I was so inspired!

Solid gold creativity

Wow! It does my soul good to read this post. Love what you say about her response “not alienating those that made fun of her” and “dissolving the conflict”.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Yes, I’ve been thinking of this idea of dissolving conflict for while, it is a beautiful concept. I really feel like it is the way to go in the future!

Beverly Diehl

I am totally inspired (and a little shame-faced) at that woman’s response. Gracious, kind, loving… I suspect she and Dr. Martin Luther King would have a lot in common. Thanks for sharing – and pointing out why what she did was so beautiful and peace-making.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I know, we so much support each other standing up, and holding people accountable. I think there is another way entirely. This is what I want to broadcast.

Monica

We live in a society that focuses too much on looks. And, age, too, for that matter. It’s sad and frustrating and I’m glad that what happened motivated you to take a stand. I applaud the Sikh woman for not letting this get to her, and for speaking up in such an eloquent way.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

It is so beautiful,

totsymae1011

I would have thought the facial hair strange as well because this isn’t customary. Though, I couldn’t see myself poking fun. I have more questions than answers and since I’ve felt different myself, I’m sorry we resolve ourselves to what lies on the surface as opposed to the interior of others. We’ve got a lotta work to do.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

No doubt. Learning and sharing and loving and stuff. It’s hard to know where to start.

Tat

Wow, that is a gracious response! Very inspiring.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Tat! I agree!

My Inner Chick

I soooo appreciate Balpreet’s response.
I only wish I had the opportunity to say hello to her in person.
What a gentle, beautiful, non-judgemental soul…

Great Post, Jodi. Xxxxx
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks Kim, it was her, not me that made the impact on so many readers!

Laura Zera

Balpreet handled the whole thing with so much grace. We don’t need to do the whole ‘eye for an eye’ thing. Sometimes we can just respond with nothing, or, like you said, Jodi, with forgiveness and a straightforward explanation.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

We have to spread the word.

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Nikky44

I think of her reply very often. I cam back here to read it. she was criticized and laughed at and judged, but she could teach the whole world the most beautiful lesson.
I think it just takes some self love to be able to do the same instead of hiding. She just loved herself enough not to be disturbed by criticism. Maybe that’s the key to change the world? if everyone can learn to love himself enough, no one would get hurt
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I totally, completely, absolutely agree with you!

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