Screw the Comfort of Others?

I shared this image on my Facebook page yesterday, with my own added caption: “For the sake of anyone’s comfort, fo sho.”

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I share it from a place of practiced self-awareness and hard-won self-confidence. A place of empowerment, and a strong desire to be my authentic self. No deferring. No flip-flopping. No cowering. No being taken advantage of. I will not shrink.

But even given all that, I think there is room for this notion — which is at root, to never sacrifice your own well being — to be misconstrued.

What if someone uses this theory as a justification for selfishness? “I’m being true to myself, despite how it may be perceived by others” looks in reality a lot more like “It’s all about me, my opinions, what I want and how, forget how anyone else is affected.”

There’s a delicate balance between the two, or should be. That’s what we should each seek. Certainty in our own minds, but with some awareness of others. Confidence in our actions, compassion for others.

Is what you believe — or what manifests in behavior as support of what you believe — hateful? Do you burn a lot of bridges? How many people/friends/family members have you alienated? And, if you really looked at how you carry yourself, could you say you don’t allow yourself to thrive on negativity, on your criticism of others, an ugliness that serves, really, only to allow you to (mentally) lift yourself to a higher station? Have you settled into a pattern of entitlement?

Truth is, we can be fully considerate of our own place, and extend a similar sense of consideration to others. (In most cases. Some, I’ll admit, don’t deserve our consideration — and that’s a one-by-one decision based on history and context, yes?)

We shouldn’t care if we step on someone’s toes, so to speak, but we should care if we step on their spirit.

We shouldn’t have to babysit others’ emotions, but we should avoid crushing another’s for the sake of upholding our own.

We should be honest and strong, without bullying our way through controversy.

We can be sensitive to our own needs, and still have empathy for others.

Wouldn’t you agree?

I say we don’t screw the comfort of others.

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To find out more about Glennon Doyle Melton, whose quote appears above, visit her website.

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