Less Hate and More Tolerance

Remembering others are “just like me” erases the divide

Beth Bruno
4 min readJul 30, 2020


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I am concerned about the state of the world and dismayed at the divisiveness and hate. It is too easy to fall into the habit of “othering” when the world feels in peril. We need someone to blame, so others who are different are an easy target. We are being encouraged to see each other as the problem, and it is easy to think of the “other” as less than human when we make them responsible for our ills. We all do it, to some degree or other.

Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, teacher, and writer has a practice that she uses to nip that tendency in the bud. The practice is called “Just like me.”

It is so easy to forget that everyone is basically the same. We all want to feel safe, loved, and worthy. We want to be free from fear, worry and pain. We want to feel like we make a difference in the world. We are all humans who are just trying to figure out how to be happy.

It is easy to dismiss others when their way of trying to find happiness looks so different from our way. It is easy to call people idiots, to deride their intelligence, to see them as the problem when we are struggling to find the things we need to feel secure and safe in our world.

When we say “Just like me” we remind ourselves of our shared human plight. We are reminded that these are people who want the same things we want. This seems simple, but it is so powerful.

Recently, I decided to employ this practice on a long road trip and was amazed how it shifted my attitude toward others — and also how often I fall into judgement and pigeon-holing people.

When a driver went by with their car plastered in political stickers for the party I don’t vote for, I started mumbling “what a f’ing idiot.” Then I stopped and said, “Oh. Just like me. Just like me, he wants to feel safe in this world. He wants to feel like he has some control. Just like me he is doing the best he can.” Then I said a short Metta prayer for that driver. “May you be well. May you be safe. May you be free from fear.”

It felt like a huge shift for me. Suddenly, I did not see this guy as the enemy, but someone who, just like me, wants to be happy. He’s trying to figure it out, too…



Beth Bruno

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.