Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tell me about it

Quoted from Carolyn Hax's Washington Post column today:
The fact that people are different from you -- in habit, taste, culture, faith, sense of humor, sex drive, intellect, income -- is not personal. It's not an insult when people don't change to please you; it's not an insult when you can't change to please someone else. Even people close to you.

If you like and accept who you are, you aren't going to fear other people's differences, or your own, as a threat. You can handle a few negative reviews.

But if you have doubts, other people become reflections of those doubts. They become the critics you need to impress to show yourself you're okay; they become the people with "potential," the ones you hope will validate you by learning to do things your way; they become the abusers who feel right and familiar and comforting because they share your low opinion of you.

Think of it this way. Obviously, we're fine with liking and disliking others freely. Someone doesn't do it for you, you move on (often after telling everyone how you feel). But we often get hung up on granting others that same license -- specifically, license to dislike us, much less discuss it with others.

So we fight ourselves, through them, and fight them, too, and force closeness where maybe distance belongs. All efforts to prove we're okay.
Amen, sister.

It's snowing!

1 comment:

Carly said...

I LOVE Caroline! I used to read her column every day (and miss manners, too, though that was more for laughs). Unfortunately, I stopped going to my mom's for lunch, and thus I never get to read the Post anymore.