When we are kids our parents put us into social situations and urge us to “get along” with the other children. We learn about “sharing” and “being nice.”
As we grow and mature those lessons broaden into understanding how to work with a group, how to fit in, how to be liked, how to be a good friend, a responsible person, a socially acceptable contributor to society.
We go through a series of life experiences where we are exposed to people we do not like or do not get along with and are challenged to figure it out, to quell our own wishes/opinions/needs for a greater good. Sometimes that is just keeping peace in the family, sometimes it is to keep a job and sometimes it is to keep from being thrown in jail.
And then we get to the other side of things, where we are no longer engaged in the immediacy of raising a family or earning a living. We have options and choices.
One of those choices is who we spend our time with and I find myself more and more unwilling to put myself into situations where I have to be with people I do not like.
I have always found it fascinating that there are people who can say the most awful, horrible things that are incredibly offensive, and other people just sit there and say or do nothing, politely changing the subject or trying their best to ignore the statement. No-one wants to argue. Everyone can be offended but please, let’s protect the idiot. People argue there is nothing to be gained but there is.
People continue to be idiots because they are allowed to get away with it and no-one calls them on it. I believe that when an untruth is spoken, it needs to be replaced with the truth. We cannot allow the lies to lay there, because we are basically allowing them a place within ourselves.
I looked long and hard at the situations where I sat and listened to people saying things like “those Muslims…” or “those Christians are all ….” and decided I want one of two things .. either to not even associate with those people or to speak up. What THAT has done for me has given me a clear idea of who my friends are and THAT has deepened by enjoyment and appreciation of them.
I realize that it has always been my choice but funny that it has taken this long to give myself permission to completely embrace that concept. I got myself into all kinds of trouble speaking out and then I learned, prudently, to keep silent. Now I am walking away … and walking to those people I actually like. I want people in my life who build me up, and support me and inspire me. I want people in my life who are sharing the journey and anxious to learn. I want to journey together, learn together, laugh and cry together … so yes … it is enough.