Okay, so I just had an opportunity to test my resolve, my belief in the power of love. It has left me exhausted and questioning everything. If there is one thing I have held myself to with this blog, it is my determination to be honest, even when it hurts. So this is about me…and my flaws.
I got in a spat with a facebook “friend” over another one of those viral diatribes that seeks to guilt those of us who didn’t vote for Trump to stop the hate, to respect their decision, to get over it and to admit that just because they voted the way that they did does not mean they are deplorable racist, misogynistic, nationalistic, fanatic evangelicals. You know the drill. We have all been bombarded with this stuff; the call to come together, to hold hands and sing kumbaya while our country implodes.
Normally I just scroll past, consider the source and enjoy a few cat videos. But this time was different because this person singled me out, tagging my name. I suppose I should have scrolled past but I didn’t. To their baited question, “do you really think I am deplorable?” with a clear accusation in the printed text that if I do, I am the problem, I admitted the truth. Yes. Yes I do believe that, despite all the ugly evidence presented during the campaign, a whole group of people held their noses and voted for a monster, their support of him is deplorable.
I didn’t make nice. I didn’t reassure this person that I thought it was perfectly okay that they did what they did. And I was honest as I could be. Their vote and their determination to have me justify them with my approval was not something I could give.
Of course I had just written about love. This morning I boasted that love is everything and that I am called to love. I started to feel guilty. I started to feel like a hypocrite. I was not loving. Love is hard.
But then my intuition, my heart started whispering to me. I remembered who I am. And I also started to see the vicious cycle I have allowed myself to endure again and again. I realized that I have given up on and refused love to the most important person in my life. That person is me.
Two weeks ago I studied the types of love. I learned that loving oneself is an important prerequisite to our ability to love others.
I’m terrible at it. I am really good at being the selfless martyr, of not being able to say no, of avoiding confrontation by smiling when others ridicule me and my bleeding heart for caring. But it is time for that to change.
Being loving does not require that I compromise myself or my convictions and beliefs. Love does not demand that I turn a blind eye to injustice, hatred and threats to the freedom and safety of myself or others. Love does not force me to respect your decisions if I believe they are wrong, though I certainly respect your right to make your own decisions. Love does not call me to endure abuse from others. Love encourages me to care for myself.
And so I chose to unfriend yet another Facebook “friend”. Not because I am hateful or unkind, but because I am trying to be better at taking care of myself. It’s the first step, after all, in loving others. Frankly, I need a break from the vicious gloating and veiled threats from those who “won”. I am still here if they want to talk respectfully about the issues that face us all. I am still open to a two-way dialog. But I do not bear the burden of proving or justifying someone else’s choice. Right or wrong it is their decision to live with.
So here I am. This is me, for better or for worst, working at being a better human. It’s hard. And I still believe love is all. I’ve just added myself to the dance card.
Remember to love yourself my friends. It’s important and you are so worthy of love. ❤️