Dear pacifists,

I'm sorry so many people think you're weak or afraid of conflict. I'm sorry that people don't really understand what it means to be a pacifist. I'm sorry that you constantly have to deal with the struggle of living in a world that values aggression and violence as a sign of strength. I'm sorry for everything I do that perpetuates those problems and makes them worse.

Now it's time for a confession. I'm jealous. I wish I had what it takes to be a pacifist. I wish my first response to conflict was not aggression. I wish my first instinct was to respond from a place of peace and not confrontation. I wish I had the kind of strength that it takes to battle those instincts and actually conquer them.

I aspire to be a pacifist. I wish I could be, but I can't yet claim that label because I feel like I can't live up to it. I don't want to claim that label until I can do it justice. Because the way I see it, pacifism has a lot more to do with justice than violence does. I hate the way that taking an eye for an eye is shown to be the way to get justice, this idea that revenge is somehow the way to set things right. I hate that aggressive behavior is seen as strength. It isn't.

It's not hard to be violent, to be aggressive, to react with anger or to lash out. That's the easiest thing in the world. It's a basic human instinct, animalistic even. The really difficult thing is to react peacefully, in a way that doesn't escalate the conflict needlessly. I haven't mastered that art, but I know a number of people who have come close.

I greatly respect you. I respect everyone who is a pacifist. I think you're far stronger than most people give you credit for, and it's frustrating to me that people disregard and dismiss what you stand for. I wish people would be more appreciative. I wish people would recognize that amidst all the violence and warfare that is tearing our world apart, peace is exactly what we need. I wish people would stop giving you crap for being committed to that ideal.

So once again, I'm sorry our society undervalues what you stand for, but never forget that standing for that is exactly what makes you so strong. We need more people like you in the world.

Sincerely,

An Aspiring Pacifist