What is right for you
“It’s too bad the moral relativists got to define this phrase,” my thoughtful wife said one evening during dinner, “for so often what is right for one person is not what is best for another.” Setting my fork aside to pay more attention, I wondered what she was getting at.
As we talked, the problem became more clear: An observation that had some merit (i.e. “That is right for you but not right for me”) had routinely been applied in situations where it didn’t make sense. Go figure. And now, this distorted use of language had become so entrenched that it was almost impossible to talk about legitimate individual freedoms and preferences without being misunderstood.
A useful phrase had been hijacked and in the process an important emphasis had been obscured. Did it sound too strong too put it that way?
From the vantage point of our kitchen table, it was appropriate and even urgently necessary to find a meaningful way to talk about significant personal distinctions because, well…let’s face it: A lack of understanding is all too common as is outright control. Treating potatoes exactly like broccoli wouldn’t make for a tasty meal or result in winning any cooking awards. But that’s what tends to happen when human beings mix and mingle. Bob the tomato gets blended together with Larry the cucumber into one big indescribable mush.
One word aptly describes this culinary concoction: Yuck.
It needs to be said that this radical redefinition can be unconscious and unintended; it just happens – almost as an aside. But this distorted way of relating can also be very active and intense.
Be warned: For every person who genuinely wants you to thrive as a distinct human being you are bound to meet dozens who merely want to plug you into some program or make you fit into what they’ve got going on. In the process, if all goes well you will appear to be a little bit less successful and so make them feel good about themselves. Sadly, it’s the way things work in this be-like-me world.
This prevalent pattern does make a person sometimes wonder if there are any truly secure people on the planet.
Western culture is usually considered to be highly individualistic, and it is comparatively speaking. But even in Canada, the USA, or Europe, etc. you will find no shortage of people and organizations who try to control very personal aspects of your daily life. Yes, you can count on being controlled even in the center of the free world.
Is it possible to have too much freedom and too much control, too much of one and too much of the other? Apparently it is. A cultural tendency to deny real boundaries and bedrock truth in the name of freedom doesn’t seem to prevent very many from trying to force their opinions on others. This harmful way of thinking and living results, more often than not, in people being way too open and much too closed, critical and controlling at the same time. It’s a lose-lose situation. Not good.
We fail to take a stand when it is necessary; and then turn around and take a stand when there is really nothing much to stand upon.
People can believe anything they like or nothing at all. Oh yeah, the universe will be sure to quickly adjust. But, doesn’t everyone know, for example, that proper and normal English is only spoken in southwest Saskatchewan by third generation Scandinavian immigrants? Didn’t know that? Well, now you do. And with any luck the Supreme Court and the U.N. will be sure to remind you.
Each person has some weird idea lurking deep in their soul that they might feel inclined to force on others if given the opportunity. Don’t they?
To be fair, it isn’t necessary to be a part of the controlling liberal tradition in order to fall into the very same controlling mindset. Denying the truth about human beings is one way to take the tumble. But ignoring the truth will work just fine.
Working through a well-established personality inventory not too ago, it became apparent that I was quite a bit different from the woman I had married. How about that? Actually, I discovered that we were different in almost every way. Amazing. Isn’t it strange how you can know someone for many years and yet not really know them at all? And suddenly it also became uncomfortably obvious that my personality had been on a covert mission over the years to control the personality that happened to be close by.
“Why can’t you be more like yourself?” Has anyone asked you that question lately?
© Career & Life Direction 2013. All rights reserved.