Not too long ago I felt very disturbed when someone who didn’t (and still doesn’t) know me very well made me feel weak. The words spoken by this person were deliberately chosen to make me feel inferior to this person’s values. Wait, let me revise that: they were chosen so the speaker could feel superior to me by making me look like I was weaker.
Since then every time I have thought back on it, it has bothered me tremendously. Then today it struck me: I was disturbed by it because it made me doubt my own values, my own moral code. I gave the speaker too much importance so that I tried to explain my thoughts, my actions, my reasons but to no avail. Why? Because the speaker who had to now listen did not have room for my way of thinking, so close-minded was the person. Sure, speaker-turned-listener heard me, but retorted condescendingly to be certain that I knew the words I was speaking added little value to an already-formed opinion of me. What is truly shocking, however, is the fact that I could be made to doubt myself by someone who barely knew me!
Too often we give too much importance to what other people think and, to be honest, many times they cannot see our perspectives or any other points of view that may be contrary to theirs in the smallest way. So rigid are their views, whether right or wrong–that is quite subjective–, that they cannot even begin to allow another person’s opposing views in their field of vision. Why do they expect us to adhere to their opinions, follow their judgements and behave as they think we must? They don’t say these words, they don’t tell us this is what they expect of us, but they imply it in the way they refuse explanations, the manner in which they continue to argue and the phrases they use to convey their supposedly superior opinions. Why bother explaining?! Why even argue back? It only gives their self-righteous side of the argument the importance they think it deserves.
Not everything is black and white and we all need to remember it…before we judge another person. The reason we all do so is because it makes us feel somehow superior. We think we’re better than those people, but who has given us the right to think so? I admit I’ve been guilty of similar actions, and I was forced to learn, to revise my thinking, my attitude because it almost ruined a friendship which is more than a decade old. I realised that the relationship was more important to me than my holier-than-thou attitude. It took some time, a lot of thinking and a few important realisations before I could change.
You are no one else’s moral police. The only person you can control is yourself and that needs to be remembered consciously. Be sure of yourself, your values, your morals, the code by which you live your life and do not compromise on it. If someone makes you contradict your code, deal with it then and accordingly; you need to be sure it remains unbroken. But be also sure to leave others free to do the same for their lives.
(More to come…)