There is a little poster on the wall in my bedroom of Andy Warhol’s black and white portrait above the quote “I think everybody should like everybody”. Andy’s logic is simple, but I’ve come to fear that this simple act of liking everybody is much easier said than done. Don’t get me wrong; I “like” almost everybody. I can count on the fingers of just one hand the number of individuals I actually dislike. What I cannot do is to count a single person whom I hate. Excuse my high horse and me, but hatred is not in our vocabulary. That’s far from the point of my rant. Excuse me.
I agree with Andy that “everybody should like everybody”. But what does it actually mean to “like” somebody? Our hearts (or is it our minds?) can distinguish between the people we like and don’t like, but how do the people around us know that we like them? You see, “liking” someone involves showing kindness, and that is something we (myself included) seem to have become incapable of. Liking somebody isn’t enough; we need to be kind to them too.
You’re probably thinking that you’re a kind enough person and this doesn’t apply to you. I thought that too. Let me tell you something here and now; it applies to you, me and everybody else. Think of all the people you come across on any given day. You pass them on the street, you cycle next to them at the gym and you hand them coins over the counter. I’m sure you’re not mean to these people, but are you actually kind to them? It’s not that hard, really. It’s as easy as smiling or asking about their day. Give it a go tomorrow – I’ll join you.
What is the test by which we decide if we like somebody anyway? Do we subconsciously like someone until they prove they should be disliked? Or do we dislike someone until they give us a reason to like them? Who even cares? Yes, it’s important to like everybody, but it’s just as important, if not more so, to be kind to everybody. If you’re kind to someone, they will believe that you like them, and being liked is enough to make anyone happy. Let’s set ourselves a mini challenge to be kind to just one person with whom we connect each day from now. Your kindness will make them happy, and you’ll be happy too. If everybody is kind to everybody, everybody may actually like everybody.
(Just quietly, I highly doubt that Andy Warhol liked everybody.)