Today, we live in a society where if you don’t agree, it’s OK to degrade your intelligence. Let me make it 100% clear, it’s not ok. Degradation, humiliation and bullying are never ok in any situation. No two people are ever going to always agree on every little thing in life. That doesn’t mean that the other person doesn’t deserve respect. I firmly believe that, today, one of this countries biggest problems is a generalized lack of respect. Respect for each other, for others property, for life in general, and respect in ones self. We have our leaders in churches and politics (especially THIS year) showing us exactly how to disrespect those who are different from us. It has to change.
No two people are exactly alike and our differences should be celebrated. Talking to someone with a different belief system can teach you so much about life. Conversations about different cultures and traditions are actually fascinating. We all have so much that we can be learning from one another. We should always strive to be learning. Life it’s self is a great big long lesson and once you stop learning, you’re no longer living.
I can promise you, that I will always respect you until you give me reason not to. I believe in treating people how I want to be treated, and I believe in listening to hear rather than listening to respond. When we hear, we’re less likely to respond in error. And I will always respect your right to your beliefs and opinions, but I expect and demand the same thing in return. That’s not to say that I am always right, I’m wrong a lot. But I can admit it. And I can gently point out someone else’s mistakes (for the most part) without making them feel like a fool, I don’t feel it’s too much to ask of others to do the same.
And I don’t just demand respect for myself. I demand respect for others and I will stand up for that. I will not tolerate a bully, even if I am just a witness to the behavior. Too few people are willing to stand up for the rights of others to not be disrespected. In our home, there are certain words that are banned. I despise the R word, racial and sexual slurs are not tolerated, and when I heard my twenty year old using a term for female genitalia as an insult, I gave a lecture on what body part was really the most sensitive. I haven’t heard him use it since. Of course, it was a rather graphic conversation, the child is not a fool.
I am not a person who enjoys confrontation. Generally, if I’m mad enough to confront someone, I’m also either close to or in tears, but it doesn’t stop me from standing up for myself or those around me. I can promise you that this blog is a safe haven. I will not judge you (unless you’re a pedophile and then all bets are off. We all have our vices.) And I will respect everyone until the individual gives me reason to not to. I don’t have the time, nor the energy to deal with those who think they are above all and feel it’s necessary to put down another human being.
I ran into such a person yesterday on FaceBook. I know most people have their profiles with high security features, I have some of them too, but most of my posts are public. Yesterday, not for the first time, a friend of a friend decided that he didn’t care for something I shared and was quite belligerent about it. I failed at being respectful. Where I should have deleted, blocked or what not, I told him that in my opinion he was a fool. Now seriously, that is my opinion. I’m not backing down on that. But I should have just deleted him. I still feel a bit justified because he butted into my conversation, but I also feel that I was in the wrong. I will get better at that, but he immediately gave me reason NOT to respect him. An insult on my intelligence. And I’m fairly sure that this was not the first time he and I have butted heads, but it still really isn’t an excuse. I make mistakes. I do try to do better.