Saturday, November 17, 2012

Respect Goes Both Ways

I'm fairly certain I am not the first Vegan to write about this. Hell, I'm probably not the first Mom or Pagan to write about this either, but today it is really bubbling up inside of me and I need an outlet for it.
Sometimes I feel like I live in a respect bubble. I've spent many years now trying to cultivate a community of friends that hold similar values and who are generally not jerks. I do however like to make sure that I don't completely surround myself with folks who hold all of the same beliefs that I do. I like to learn and I find people incredibly fascinating and how would I do this if I only ever hear the same ideas over and over again? The problem with this however is becoming slowly apparent to me.
I think the idea of needing to respect people for their opinions is getting a little out of hand. There are many 'truths' out there but frankly there are only certain facts. I could go around all day telling people every little thought that came into my head about how they live their lives but I don't. Why? Because it is not always nice and certainly not always needed. It seems that these people who want others to be respectful of their beliefs ( read keep you mouth shut) tend to be those who think it is then okay to make fun of or belittle others under the guise of honesty or, my personal favorite, free speech. I'm sorry, but having an opinion is not a license to be an asshole.
I don't pretend to vomit on some one's hamburger when we're out to eat, but it seems to be okay to wave it in my face and ask when am I going to start to eat meat again? My children will never go hunting but it's okay to constantly ask me when can you take them or comment on how our dog would be great hunting dog? How about I ask you when you're going to quit stopping for children in crosswalks or kicking puppies for fun? Oh, but heaven forbid I say anything like that because it would be rude wouldn't it? It. Would. Be. RUDE.
I do believe there are times when holding one's tongue is dangerous and I struggle with this a lot especially in my activism. But I think we can all agree that poking fun and being mean, however lighthearted, is not the best way to make change.
I often try to keep in mind when moving through life these three things:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

No? Then maybe it should be given a bit more thought before it comes out of your mouth.

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