Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You don't have to like anybody...

My kids teach me a lot–especially when class is being held by my pre-teen daughter. She and her posse change friends more than they change their clothes. Interestingly enough, within their social structure, ones inclusion and status is attached to whether or not they are currently “liked” by their peers. I guess it is a darn good thing we humans do not have a “like” button attached to us. It seems this liking can sway others to alter their opinions as well.

I find this fluctuation amusing. I have to keep a little notebook to be able to keep up with who is in the group’s favor at any given moment. I feel for the person who, because of a simple opinion or utterance, can fall from grace like the stock market on a downward plunge. Being not included, feeling alone, and ostracized simply for maintaining personal integrity or choosing to express oneself is a deep and profound censorship. Yes, we like to be surrounded with those of like mind, but where is the spice? It falls between controversy and complement, we must find a balance.

When we choose to shun another because of our opinion of them, or because they are too far from our standards, what becomes the benchmark? It is how they look? Is it what they drive? Is it what they wear? Are they bigger or smaller than us? Are they a different color, race, religion, or species? Who determines the parameters? Who speaks for the group? It confuses me as it seems that the group dynamic can dictate this. Our moods can dictate this. What kind of emotional seismograph would one need to properly navigate this minefield?

I have realized, “We do not have to like anybody, but we should make a strong attempt to love everybody.” (I will let that marinate for a moment.)

I admit there are people who I do not find social favor with. I also agree there are many whom I would rather not have in my presence for a variety of reasons. I am still trying to get over the lady who chastised me for being in line with too many items at the grocery. I mean, yes I did have a full cart, but the lady who worked there opened a line and offered, no one else was waiting, I checked to make sure. How was I to know the lady was going to walk up and have only three items? I mean she did not need to make a scene. I guess I could have not told her to “switch to decaf and just get over herself “either. Loud angry exhales from people behind me still get to me from time to time. “Love you angry lady!” (But I don’t like you right now.)

I see that “liking” someone is a more shallow and temporary emotion. Shallow, not necessarily from the standpoint of one’s character (sometimes), but that it does not always carry much depth per se. It can be affected by fleeting moments in time. Parents will be able to identify with this I assume. “I love you, but I don’t like you right now!” (*Child pouts and exits, muttering something about someone getting hit by a bus.)

A lot of this is behavior related.

There are many people in my life whose behavior can dictate whether or not I want to steep myself in their presence at any given moment. This again depends on my mood. It does not always corrupt my ongoing opinion of them.

There is something more here though; part two of the above mentioned sentiment. We should make a strong attempt to “love” everyone.

Love is an action word as well as an emotional and spiritual one.

We can “not like” someone, yet still consider them a human being. We can honor their rights, needs, freedoms, and deserving of said love. This can include sharing everything from the simple gesture of a smile, to offering company, food, shelter, and fellowship.

I hope I do not have to pull out the “WW’s.”

WWJD? (What would Jesus do?), or WWBD? (What would Buddha do?), WWYMTYTD? (What would your mom tell you to do?), WWYWTHITTWT? (What would you want to happen if the tables were turned?) WW...you get the point.
Yes, it may be true that we can indeed love someone from a distance, but I think that love’s true intention is to try to close the gap.

We will all be confronted with this dichotomy. It is nice to know we have choices–choices that go beyond our definition of one’s status by how they look, or what type of music they like, or what they do for fun. Try to take the high road. All the cool kids are doing it–(Unless of course you are still in junior high.)


Deanne said...

I am blessed in that my 15 yr old daughter will stand on her own and often sit by herself if necessary to keep herself at a distance from anyone she sees as she puts it "a negative influence."

She does not like gossip and people who curse or are mean spirited at school so rather than stay in the area she removes herself.

At times I have said "how come you don't hand out with so and so anymore" and she will say "trust me mom you don't want me around them" she also puts herself into their shoes and can identify with what she thinks is why they do what they do as in one boy who's parents were going through a divorce and she knew he was acting out because of that. This is something I instilled in her long ago to try to see past their behavior and understand why they act that way. This allows her to have compassion for them rather than judge them she now understands the "why"

When I am faced with anyone who is going off anymore I smother them with kindness and that usually does the trick. I have even said to people "I can feel you are not having a good day, I am going to say a prayer that things will start looking up for you" and that usually calms them.

All we can do is be love ourselves and hopefully it will radiate out and people will pick up on the good vibes.

Lots of Love to you Tony,


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Tony Anders said...

Thanks Robbie and welcome! I will have to check yours out as well! Enjoy blogging - it is very therapeutic! ~ Tony