Saturday, January 24, 2009

Onus of responsibility...

After a long conversation with a good friend I thought I would try to solidify my thoughts regarding what is truly important between people...

I do not want You to like me.

My wanting You to do something is imposing, pressing my views, values, needs and desires on You. Instead, I want to be likable. If everything works out correctly then You get to decide if You like Me or not.
I do not want you to please me.
My being pleased is not Your responsibility. My being pleased is my responsibility. If I am displeased with my circumstance(s) then it is my responsibility to do something for or about myself, not You.
I do want to like you.
And I will like you unless or until you do something that I find unlikable. If that time arrives then it is my responsibility to be honest in my actions. Either I can distance myself from you, denying friendship by the lack of proximity, or I can tell you the truth of my feelings. If the occasion warranted it I might say, "I do not like you when you speak badly of your peers."

In the rare circumstance when I cannot remove myself from a difficult situation I will do the hardest thing I have ever had to do, tell another human being that, "I do not like you."

I can say from personal experience that this statement, "I do not like you." offered directly to another human being has devastating consequences. This is why it is so seldom said 'mano a mano'. More often than not it is alluded to in a gossipy fashion, "Oh, I don't like so-and-so."

The actual expression "I do not like you." is incontrovertible. Once spoken it cannot be rescinded. Once expressed there is a distance between the two people involved that cannot be bridged. When those words are delivered then the most primal foundation of trust is shattered.

[Note: Distancing oneself from an objectionable person or circumstance only relieves the discomfort. It does not resolve the situation.]
I want validation (respect and approval).
As such it is my responsibility to be respectable and be worthy of approval. As well it is my responsibility to know that validation cannot be given before the fact.

A demand for validation is the same as wanting some one to like me.

[I believe the practice of unconditionally protecting Janey/Johnny's self-esteem has had a very detrimental affect on our social values. If every action is met with approval and validation then Jane/John can no longer tell what is truly valid or worth of approval.]

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