The first full week of January has passed. We transition out of holiday time and for those of us in the northern hemisphere into the remaining darkness of winter. These next few weeks can be a very challenging time for many. I've heard from friends that many people have just passed away. That is common. Many people strive to hold on during the holidays so as to not spoil them for those they leave behind. We must choose what to leave behind as we enter this new year.
Recently I have been torn about friends, well Facebook friends. I've not always been great at curating my friend list. This is in part because social media is an important component of being in business for myself. I need a wide base and to reach people outside my immediate circle. I have unfriended less people than I can count on my hands. It is not something I do lightly. For me it can feel like a personal failure. I try to accept people as they are even when they disagree with me. I believe it is important that we keep talking to each other and not demonize those who think differently. This is challenging because we have that exact polarizing behavior modeled for us daily in our mass media and politics. News programs can end up looking like sleazy talk shows.
So I tend to keep people around that I have deep disagreements with for the simple reason that I need to be able to see other perspectives. Recently I have been trolled anytime I post something I believe is an important issue. I've debated and tried to use logic only to have my character called into question. I have been chided for not staying in neutrality. The thing is I'm not neutral. I never have been. My alignment status is clearly chaotic good. (Role players will understand that term). Normally I wouldn't even engage, but I have been truly horrified with the ugliness, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and corporate propaganda that people post. I've seen people make jokes that all but use the "N" word. Sometimes I actually wish they'd use it so more people would see what they're saying for what it is.
The state of the world is currently ruled by fear and force. People have forgotten their power. Powers have forgotten their people. We are told what to believe, consume, and who to hate. I cannot abide this (again chaotic good). Evil is what happens when good men do nothing. One person asked me why I even bother to post and I told them I wanted other people to see it is not okay to spread hatred and bigotry. I want to empower those that silently disagree to use their voice. I could be more courageous, but I do what I feel able to do in this moment.
So I seldom remove people from my friend list because even if they disagree I believe they need to see that we do and why. When I do remove people it has to do with a fundamental lack of respect shown to me and those I care for. My first post on this blog when I renamed it and starting my weekly missives (or sometimes rants) was entitled "RESPECT" and I meant it. You can disagree and be friends. You can disagree and be respectful. In fact, in order to live with others you have to be able to do that. If you can't well then I am sure there is a cult out there looking for a new mindless follower.
So how about you? Are you letting go of those who haven't learned how to treat others who disagree with them? Do you treat those who don't think the same way as you do with contempt or civility? Are you complacent with those who ridicule you just because they think they are right or better? Do yourself a favor untether and cut the cord. We need diversity in our lives, but we also need diversity that respects each other.
Peace and Blessings,