It is common for those who don’t know us well to label us according to the characteristics they dislike about us. The problem with this is that the label they assign to us is only a sliver of our total being. This little sliver of our life becomes the whole perception of us in that person’s (or group’s) eyes. When evaluating people, this is the process of converting the complex into the simple even though it is a biased process and perception.
Let’s take a look at eight personal characteristics people that know me well have recently used to describe me:
- Humanist / atheist
Those who do not know me well typically only see the personal characteristics of:
- Humanist / atheist
Why do these folks only “see” the parts of me that are outside their perception or belief of the truth or right and wrong? It is these three areas of my life that seem to bring out the anger and hate in people. These people make it their life’s mission to set me straight and get me centered on the right path … as they see it.
Though I don’t brazenly share these areas of my life openly, I don’t hide them either when having a pertinent conversation, when asked or confronted. What these antagonists don’t understand is that:
- I was a Christian before I became a humanist.
- I was a successful capitalist before I became an anarcho-socialist.
- I was straight before I became a bisexual.
At an earlier point in my life, I was them. I understand their line of thinking. I also understand where this way of thinking originates and I got a belly full of it long, long ago.
I don’t shove my beliefs and lifestyle choices in your face. I don’t try to persuade you to my way of living. I don’t make fun of you in group situations. I don’t humiliate you in front of others. Truth be told, I really don’t care what you believe. I don’t have any need or reason to “recruit” you to my way of thinking and living.
Your beliefs and principles are yours. You have the right to have beliefs that are contrary to mine. I respect and honor that right.
Consequently, I expect the same from you!