Why is it we feel the need to invalidate and disregard others who don’t think and have the same preferences as we do? I ask this using the inclusive because I realize I do it too.
When I posted the movie review about Daybreakers, there were several comments made that it wasn’t the kind of movie some would ever watch due to the gore and violence. I understand that, I really do. I am not a fan of that myself. However, and maybe this is just a flawed perception on my part, some of the comments seemed to have a subtle hint of disapproval or disdain regarding these kinds of movies and those who watch them.
I’ve seen it play out over and over again, sometimes participating. One person’s preference, opinion, belief, or method is taunted, ridiculed, rejected, or shunned, treated as invalid because it goes against what another or group of others think or are accustomed to.
A friend of mine posted an article that highlighted this very thing. It was regarding one family’s history of having a lot of children with the eldest son and his wife carrying that choice forward and having a third child. Apparently there is or has been a reality show about the family, although, I’ve never seen it. The article stated that our society has a “My body, my choice,” attitude of acceptance and normality for a woman’s right to choose abortion, but not if a woman chooses to mother a large family, especially if her religious beliefs factor into her decision. Apparently, there were a lot of horrific comments made to the original article announcing the family’s expansion. Name calling, vilification, and death wishes were the message of the day.
On the flip side, we’ve all witnessed at one point or another the open hatefulness that has been displayed toward staff and clients braving the picket lines of pro-life protesters.
I don’t have the answer to the pro-choice/pro-life debate – and it isn’t the topic at hand – but I will say this: I am both pro-choice and pro-life. I believe that each and every person has the right to decide for themselves what actions they are going to take. I believe that each person’s body is their own and no one has the right to impose or determine their will over another person. I believe in the sanctity of life and that life happens for a reason. The decision to end a life, regardless of how valid or senseless the reasoning is, has far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for the one making that decision and ripples into the lives and psyches of those connected to both the life that is taken and the one doing the taking.
I saw a post from a group of introverts who were frustrated and upset by an article stating that in order for introverts to be happier, they need to act like extroverts. Some of their responses were as denigrating to extroverts as they were accusing the article’s author of being toward them.
Drivers vs bicyclists
Horror vs drama
Vegan/vegetarian vs carnivore
Male vs female
Generation vs generation
Rich vs poor
Science vs religion
Religion vs religion
Race vs race
The list goes on and on and on. There are a lot of prejudices and isms in our world.
We use words and phrases that could have been sung by the character, Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Even if we don’t say it, we think it:
Those poor, unfortunate souls are mistaken, misguided, brainwashed, deceived, evil because they don’t think/look/act as we do and it makes us feel uncomfortable and somehow threatened that if their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perspective are valid, then we are invalidated.
I am learning that right, wrong, or somewhere on the multi-colored spectrum between white and black, every human being has validity and the right to be wrong, as well as the right to believe they are right. Someone else being right only means I’m wrong if I said two plus two was anything other than four.
Even if I disagree and think someone else is wrong, I’m learning to let go of my need to be vindicated and validated by having them agree with me and tell me I’m right. I’m learning to try to understand how they arrived at their conclusions and why they believe as they do.
I am teaching, or trying to teach, Luna that how she feels is how she feels, but feeling a certain way doesn’t give her the right to treat others badly when they don’t accommodate her feelings or say and do what she thinks they should. It’s a difficult lesson to teach a four year old. It’s especially difficult to teach when confronted with the reality that it’s one I’m still learning myself.