Friday, December 5, 2008

putting not-so-blatant disregard under a metaphorical microscope

There is something dangerous about an internal disregard for other people. I think lots of people harbor very overt but severely hidden feelings, beliefs, or values that designate certain people as less or other or bad.

Of course, some people wear their "isms" on their sleeves... but what is much more pervasive, tricky, and difficult are those quiet, unspoken thoughts/feelings which are ultimately perceived through microexpressions, actions, tone, or energy. They still convey dislike, distaste, disrespect, etc. - but in a much more subtle and insidious way.

I am increasingly aware of how this type of socially accepted disregard can damage the recipients. To be seen as less in value than another human being, to be written off or ignored or told directly and indirectly you are incapable of achieving, of changing, of being an equal inevitably destroys or at least severely dents the foundations upon which ability and wellbeing exist: self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-concept.

It is so easy sometimes to rationalize disregard and to lower our expectations of others without apology. Easier to give up or shut down or turn away. But perhaps there is some self-fulfillment to our prophecies... and maybe it is important to acknowledge our part in the cycle that plays out so that we may always strive to respond with increasing compassion, respect, and dignity.

What if we saw each person as an equal? Truly equal to us and deserving of respect and compassion based upon the very simple and basic truth of their humanity. Might our secret fears be eliminated? Might our insecurities become irrelevant?

Perhaps it's something to be mindful of - just to see what effect it might have not only upon those around us, but ourselves as well.


Claff said...

Wow. it is kind of eerie that you wrote this at the exact same moment that I am struggling with a real-life example of such disregard and contempt... I won't go into it, but it's exactly what you described - those tiny, micro-slights and sneers and pricks that accumulate over time - and they're just as hateful and hurtful as a big slanderous blowout.

It hurts. A lot. I can only be thankful at times like these for friends like you - who see to the heart of things, and to the heart of me as well. I am so grateful to have people around me to remind me that I'm not unequal, not atrocious, not just simply "bad". And I strive to do the same for them in return.

So thank you - if I don't tell you enough - for being my friend. For propping me up when I get cut down. For reminding me that I matter. I love you.

Genevra said...

I love you too. And I think you are one of the most amazing, incredibly, talented, beautiful, wonderful women I know. Hands down.