Every morning, my day starts off with my dog leaping onto my bed and sniffing, pawing, licking and biting at me. Sometimes, he gets so excited that he just starts barking at me right in my face. My wife gets up about an hour before me, and after giving our dog his breakfast and morning outdoor time, she lets him into the bedroom.
Some mornings, I'll lay in bed – half awake – and listen for the sound of my dog's nails on the hardwood floor outside the bedroom. I'll hear the cracking of paint partially adhered to the door jam as my wife begins to open the way with just enough hesitation to keep my dog excited.
I'll pull the covers over my head so he has to look for me. I'll shift my position so he crawls over me instead of just next to me. Any small thing I can do to keep it interesting for him. This outpouring of affection – no matter how energetic it may be for how little light there is outside – is a reminder every morning that I am loved and is the inspiration I need to get up and embrace the world again today.
Being open minded is easy and healthy. I spent years of my life in high school and early college rejecting new ideas and closing off to progressive ideology. I would laugh at people who identified as non-binary, or refer to transgender people as “it” because I was a huge shit-spewing asshole. It was a sad time in my life, looking back, and I was absolutely on-track to have been one of Trump's biggest fans.
Thankfully, I did a complete 180 over the last decade. I was always told that I'd become more conservative as I grew up and had to be a member of society and pay taxes and whatnot. Well, I pay taxes now, and I want those taxes to fund socialized medicine and give everyone the physical and mental healthcare they need, while spreading the word of acceptance for everyone. (Not to mention that I'd happily pay more in taxes to fund said healthcare.)
When I'm met with something I don't understand, I have found how much easier it is to accept it than to reject it. “Oh, cool” is much nicer to say on a daily basis than “what is wrong with these people?”. You identify as something I'm unfamiliar with? Cool. If that is how you feel comfortable, I'd love to learn more and show you the respect you deserve. It takes hardly a modicum of effort on my part to accept something. You don't even have to read deep into it – just accept it, and let others feel validated. The flip side is to put in the energy – the negative energy – of rejecting it. It is taxing on your soul, and wages that same tax on others. Lose-lose.