The Importance Of Accepting Others, And Their Decisions
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Politics and Activism

The Importance Of Accepting Others, And Their Decisions

You Must Show Everyone A Level Of Respect, Even If You Disagree With Them

The Importance Of Accepting Others, And Their Decisions

You might not agree with someone’s religious preferences, political views, or sexual orientation, but it is important to accept those people as human beings and respect and accept their decisions, as long as they are not hurting anyone.

We have had so many instances when societal institutions in this country that have taught us that it is not okay to be a certain way. Before the Civil Rights movement, we were taught that it was perfectly alright to marginalize people for their race, to treat them as if they were inferior to whites. These lessons were absurd, and the beliefs they were based on should have been thoroughly scrutinized years before they were actually challenged.

Until recently, it wasn’t okay to be gay, bisexual, or anything other than straight. Ronald Reagan’s ill-advised “War on Drugs” marginalized drug users, some of whom posed no real threat to society, putting into place a broken criminal justice system that focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation. There is a lively movement (particularly in the South) targeting the transgender community because apparently it’s not okay to be anything but the perfect ideals of masculinity or feminity. There is even a gigantic backlash for not conforming to a traditional monogamous relationship.

People care about traditional values to the point in which they are ready to intrude on people’s lives, yet they don’t try to find out where those values came from or try to challenge them. Instead, we like to harass, disapprove of, and show our disgust towards those who don’t conform to our perceptions of what we like in society.

We often like to tie our societal values to moral values, but this falls flat 99% of the time, serving to only create stereotypes. Not all drug users are bad people. Not conforming to gender roles has nothing to do with being a good or bad person, and an individual person’s race has nothing to do with their work ethic or the content of their character.

When you dig deeper into what you perceived as the right way, you find that not all of the traditional values you grew up cherishing hold value. I gave up blindly following Christianity because I learned that the modern day interpretations of the Bible are grossly out of line with what their creators had originally intended and that there are older spiritual texts from other cultures (such as the Bhagavad Gita) that are more fulfilling and don’t have to resort to dogma to keep their practitioners in line. Honestly, the way in which God acts in his text (and how the Church has acted historically) is very similar to how some dictatorships keep their people in line.

You can certainly disagree with someone, in fact, it’s necessary that we disagree. Conversation is good, as long as it’s just conversation, you’re not acting on your disagreement in some radical way. You can disagree with the drug user, you can disagree with the Christian, the Republican, but no matter how much you disagree with them, you have to show them some basic respect.

This is something parents, mentor figures, employers, anyone in a position of power often has to learn the hard way. You can be in charge of someone’s daily tasks, you can guide their development, and you can try your best to make sure someone grows up to be a good person but at some point there is a line in which that person has developed their own identity, and you can’t change that.

My parents might not like that I take a lot of night shifts at work, but they can’t make me change my hours. To do so would disrespect my ability to make decisions for myself as an adult, and that is not okay.

Unless they can’t care for themselves, it’s never okay to seize the reins from another person, albeit directly or indirectly. We all have the ability to live our lives the way that we want to. Nobody should be judged for doing what’s right for them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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