communication,  goals,  meaning of life,  memes,  the ethical life

being wrong, accepting criticism and imperfection

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“No, friendship is NOT about ‘supporting your friends even when you know they’re wrong.” That’s not friendship. That’s being an enabler. That’s being an accomplice.
Friendship is loving someone enough to tell them to stop being an idiot before they ruin their lives.”

I saw a text-in-a-box thing on facebook today with that text. I read it, re-read it, and thought about a time when I acted as an enabler, supporting someone as she got back together with an abuser, and how I wish I had handled it differently. I had been so scared she’d stop talking to me that I didn’t really say what I should have. If you are her, and you are reading this, I’m so sorry, for not speaking up.

Then I thought about my general fear that people are just humoring me. Maybe I’m wrong about all sorts of things, and people just don’t want to say.

I thought also about facebook conversations, and how I want to be open to hearing new ideas, but that I still instinctively cringe when people contradict me. I want them to contradict me. I want to have the discussions but at the same time I cringe. Sometimes the cringing is because I still think I’m right, and they are wrong, and I don’t want to risk the friendship in explaining why, and sometimes the cringing is because I think they might really be right on it.

We have a natural instinct an older picture I took of a monarch butterfly standing delicately on bee balmto be annoyed and to reject criticism, at least initially, and a natural instinct to not want our friends to be annoyed at us, so we hesitate on being critical. Yet at some point we have to accept that temporary annoyances, temporary tension between two people can be ok. We’re not going to be able to present criticism perfectly. We’re not going to be able to accept criticism perfectly. But none of that matters, because temporary strife is not or should not be the end of the world. The problem isn’t that we can’t do things perfectly, it is that we expect things to be perfect.

It is ok to be wrong. It is ok to be upset at being told one is wrong. If one accepts that it is ok to be wrong, it becomes easier to accept being told that one is wrong. All of life is a journey, a struggle to understand the world and to find the right path. We are blessed if we have others who can help keep us on the right path.


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