When Acceptance is a One-Way Street

Why does my age, gender, color of my skin, hair, religion or moral compass become a punching bag for every person who somehow feels inadequate in life?  According to the media, I (comparatively speaking) am being targeted by multitudes of people I’ve even never met because of who I am.  My choice of food, friends, jobs, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, clothes and even charities I donate to have been criticized, condemned and ridiculed.  I’m a strong person and can take the abuse yet I struggle to understand it.

When people see me at first glance, they’ll notice a middle-aged, Caucasian female of average weight and height.  I don’t wear designer clothes or carry a designer handbag.  I generally wear costume jewelry.  I am currently unemployed.  I don’t walk around like I own a mansion and a yacht.  Yet I’m being accused of being insensitive to the plights of others who are “different.”

I get it.  I may not look like I’ve ever suffered a day in my life.   Nobody knows, however, about everything that’s ever happened to me in my life except me.  Even my family and friends don’t know everything I’ve experienced.  They don’t need to.  What concerns me is when my opinions, based on my personal experiences or set of values, are attacked without provocation.  When I’m expected to be understanding and not judgmental, why aren’t I afforded that same respect?  In my lifetime, I have never witnessed such a period of double-standards as I have in recent years.

As far as I’m concerned, to each his own; live and let live  As long as someone is not hurting me or my family in any way, shape or form, what they do in their personal life does not concern me.  We all have opinions, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams.  Mine may not be like everyone else’s but in our society, we are supposed to welcome diversity.  Disagreeing with someone whose opinions and choices are different than mine does not make me a homophobe, xenophobe, racist or religious fanatic.

A difference in the color of our skin, sexual orientation, political affiliation or religion (or lack thereof) does not mean we cannot live alongside one another in harmony.  If you were drowning, I would help save you, hungry, I’d help feed you, hurt, I’d comfort you; I wouldn’t care who you were.  Why are some people so shallow to fall into the pit of labels, hatred and condemnation?  Maybe because it’s so easy to do.

I guess I’m just tired of all the pathetic rhetoric I’ve been hearing over the past decade.  I make no apologies for my feelings, opinions or moral values nor do I expect others to do the same.  I admit there are times I wish I could make some people change their minds about something, but I have no right to impose my will on anyone.  Accept me for who I am or not.  I accept me, flaws and all.  Everyone has the right to agree to disagree.  However, it’s about time we try and make acceptance a two-way street.

“Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.” ~ Deepak Chopra

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