Do you ever feel like you just want to be accepted — or left alone? There are times when I get tired of having others reject, correct, chide, or otherwise disrespect me, that I wonder if it is worth meeting new people. Is this what life is like for anyone else?
I make an effort to tolerate others “ad nauseum” (it just doesn’t make sense to get upset over little things in life), but it is not reciprocal. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the good fight (being tolerant), when others seen to tolerate nothing (and then insist on telling me.)
I try to follow the motto “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” – and yet most people disagree. I often am told off if I glance in the wrong direction (according to them.) If you are a reader of my past posts, you might sense my growing frustration with how there is so much judgment and so little acceptance in the world today.
This week it started with a Facebook post…
I shared a quote (picture at left) on my Facebook wall and in turn, several friends shared it on their wall. Different people commented – most agreeing with the sentiment – except for one who wrote:
” I understand the wrong of being judgmental. But to never judge doesn’t ring true does it? Quoting from “http://www.tldm.org/News6/judging.htm” Those without convictions proclaim a mistaken notion of tolerance: But ‘tolerance’ can be a genuinely harmful force when it becomes a euphemism for moral exhaustion and a rigid or indifferent neutrality in response to every great moral issue—when, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, it becomes the virtue of people who do not believe in anything.”
It always surprises me how religious zealots will cite scripture to justify why they deserve to confront (and judge) others about their choices. While such people spout words of acceptance (“God loves everyone…”), they are typically intolerant of anyone who does not share their beliefs.
When religion and righteousness enter the conversation, logic often seems to exit. We end up with bullying behavior from adults under the guise of “I am compelled to save you (from your own misguided way of thinking)… because I know better than you what is right!”
Argh – I hate that! It is like saying “I accept everyone for who they are, but I simply will not tolerate anyone who is not as righteous as me!” (It reminds me of a notepad I saw once depicting a crotchety an old woman ranting “There’s nothing I hate more than intolerance!”)
You have a right to your opinion, as long as you agree with me…
I realized that what bothered me about the comment was that it felt too familiar. My parents use guilt and scripture as rationale for their non-accepting, strongly worded opinions, and incessant chiding (verbal spanking). It makes no difference to them that I am a good person with high morals and values, it only matters if I follow their edicts.
You might think, after decades of guilt mongering, I would have figured it out. I COULD be loved and accepted if I could just fit into the first communion dress I wore as a child. It will never happen, and I am happy and healthy loving myself.
Today, I live thousands of miles away, yet my father continues to send me (dis)missive emails.
You might recognize the pattern of the email: “Dear Carol, How are you? I hope you know how much you are hurting (or how much suffering you are causing to) <insert family member name here> by <insert unrelated behavior here>. You know that God would want you to <insert their recommended behavior change here> because He says <insert convenient bible passage here>.”
Fight or flight (or fright?)
I have learned to ignore such rhetoric until it escalates with follow-ups. At some point, I end up confronted with the primal “fight or flight” response, and neither renders a good outcome. Fight means a showdown of religious righteousness that I am unwilling to wage (it is a no win). Flight ends up being a chase where I am eventually caught to further face guilt-laced “gentle correction” to save me from the fires of hell. Why so much judgment when there is so much goodness to accept?
Judgment or admonishment – who needs it? Please excuse me either way… I am living a good life, and no matter how much judgment you heap on me, I’ll still tolerate you. What do you think?
Have a good week!