Monday, October 10, 2016

Maintaining Balance in a Crazy World

Listen friends, I'm gonna get real here. I haven't said much on this subject, thinking I'm going to keep an open mind. There is a reason that all this Facebook "unfriending" is going on right now. We would all like to believe that "just because we have different opinions we can still be friends." I'm not sure about that. We choose friends because they are like us, no? They support us, they have similar values and ethics and morals. I'm not talking about -you love cats, I love dogs- types of differences, I'm talking about basic values, so many examples to choose from. Is it okay to lie? Is it okay to cheat and steal and take advantage of people? Is it okay to disrespect others, mock them, unfairly generalize? *I* believe it is NOT okay. If *you* believe it IS okay, then there is a fundamental difference between us. It's simple. 
Yes, you are entitled to your opinions. Yes, you have the right to believe what you want to believe. Yes, I will even listen to your viewpoint. It's my right to disagree and it's my right to express my own opinions. Sometimes I even express those opinions on Facebook. I have very strong opinions (which I try to base on fact) and I sometimes share them, but I really try to refrain from attacking others personally. That's part of MY value system... 
We can't do anything about family members except try to understand their point of view. What happened in the "history of them" that causes them to think they way they think? Sometimes we know their stories, sometimes we don't. We can still love them and respect them, but we don't have to agree with them. That's family, you can't get rid of them. But friends are family members we CHOOSE. I am going to choose ones that reflect my moral values. Simple. 
Of course there are different levels of friendship. The ones I keep physically close are going to be the ones whose values I have the most in common with. I have to live with them after all :-) Sure, there are always some differences, maybe there are one or two things we may disagree on, but we always have MORE in common than less. We can always respectfully agree to disagree if the issue isn't huge. It's human nature to surround ourselves with people who have similar beliefs. Would I choose to be friends with a mass murderer? No. That's called a HUGE moral issue. 
When we up our level of friendship into relationships, the same rules apply. The guy I am currently seeing, asked before we even met for the first time, who I support in this election. You have no idea how relieved I was that *he* brought it up and how relieved I was to find that the answer meant we had similar values. It's NOT about being open-minded. It's about being similar-minded. It's about being emotionally connected with someone who agrees with your morals and values. Simple. 
This election is causing extremely heightened emotions. I would even use the term "frenzied." I always encourage others to practice tolerance. I always try to practice tolerance. Be open minded and listen to others and if you must, agree to disagree and move on. But know that there is NO shame in wanting to sever ties if someone is being emotionally abusive, or if you feel bullied. It's called protecting yourself. If, in real life, your friend physically hit you, would you remain friends? If your friend humiliated you and made you feel ashamed of who you are, would you remain friends? I would hope not. So if someone on Facebook is engaging in that type of behavior with their words, it's okay to let them go.
Life is not black and white, right or wrong. It's a series of compromises on a sliding scale. When the scale tips, and things are out of balance, do what you have to, to bring it back to balance. You can't make positive changes in the world if you are bombarded with negativity and agree to wear it like a cloak. There is NO shame in letting go of things that bring dissonance in your life. But let them go gently please, with kindness.


I am so grateful for every single comment you leave. Thank you for hearing me.