Don't get me wrong, I have opinions and I can also be very stubborn, but I do my best to keep that to myself and well, unfortunately for him, my husband. It just seems like I witness so much division based on fear of "the other side."
I've hesitated for awhile now to write this piece, because, well, it's my opinion. But this week I picked up a new book, A Life Worth Breathing--Max Strom, and the second chapter titled Our Situation, brought validity to my thoughts. So it's not just me. Here is a quote from the book, "—how we will fight to the end to prove that our ideas are right, our value system is best, and our likes and dislikes are most supreme. The only problem is..." It goes on to say, that we live in probably in the most unhappiest of times in our society. We mask the fact that our life may be a disaster with our cleverness, vanity and intellectual certainty and we will fight to the death asserting that everyone else should think and live as we do. What strikes me the most in this statement is the word FIGHT! If you go back to the quote, "our likes and dislikes are most supreme." If I may, OMG!
YES! There is not one person reading this who hasn't done this. Let me give you a very simple, but real example. I listened to two dear friends of each other argue their like and dislike for a certain grocery store location to the point where, by the end, each voice was elevated to emphatically get their point across. "How could you possibly like that location?" Back and forth they went in the time frame of three short minutes. I was just a witness but I could feel the energy of the exchange and even for a moment, thought well I think they should like this location and I'm going to put in my two cents... I didn't, but it was interesting that my mind went to that point. It's just a grocery store for Pete's sake! However, it perfectly makes my point. It doesn't have to be something as deep and personal as religion or politics (don't even get started), it can be as simple as, a damn grocery store.
Take a moment and think about the mental or emotional attachment someone must feel to hoard material possessions beyond control. Now, what if our beliefs / opinions, that we've held onto for so long, the only reality we know, were taken away from us. Imagine the fear of opening ourselves up to new perspectives or ideas. So we continue on the path again of, "My way or the highway." "I'm right and you're wrong."
So back to the question. Has it always been this way or has a social media culture made it easier to be "bullies" hidden behind the computer screen. Say whatever you want, offend anyone and because you didn't have to see how it affected them, who cares? Did we get away from valuing each other enough to say, "We'll agree to disagree"? It certainly feels like it to me.
I am not saying that we should not have beliefs or live by the values that mean the most to us. I have values, beliefs and live my life the way I see fit. Sometimes I make good choices and sometimes I don't. I am human; we are all human. But my life is my life. My way is my way. I don't expect it to be yours. My journey is my journey. Only I can live it. If I wake up everyday and live my true self, stick to my values and accept others for theirs, then I'm living a peaceful life. If I wake up everyday, and fight to make another believe that my way is the best and only way, it would be a life of fear. I choose peace in my heart. Unfortunately in today's culture, we make it easier to be the bully than the beacon of peace. It's glamorized in the media and even our leaders send the message that bullying is okay, by being one themselves.
So in the end, I will continue to do my work and walk my journey. I will honor those around me and the unique qualities they bring to my world, including their opinions. However, I will not be bullied and I will not fight. There is way too much of that in our world. I choose the road less traveled.
I leave you with my favorite quote from Timber Hawkeye, "Never judge anyone for the choices they make, and always remember that the opposite of what you know is also true. Every other person's perspective on reality is as valid as your own, so no matter how certain you are that what you're doing is the "right thing," you must humbly accept the possibility that even someone doing the exact opposite might be doing the "right thing" as well." We should all write this down on our computer screens and read it before "sharing" your like or dislike for someone else's, opinion or belief.