Time and again something happens that makes me look at
people- I mean, at mankind and shake my head slowly while thinking "You really are something". And this happens EVERYWHERE, in EVERY sphere of life. Like when your folks tell you you should never, ever lie and little after you catch them on a lie SO BIG you don't even have time to be outraged, but you feel like suddenly stepping into the Twilight Zone. Often also at the office - I can see my dear friend Dragonfly nodding here! - with the boss-person who's BIG, really BIG on berating everybody and telling the team that they should really learn to do "team work", that the office isn't a competition field, but a place where we should all work together for the good of the company, and THEN this boss-person neglects to INFORM their colaborators (colaborators when they are preaching about team work and less individuality, less selfishness and work for the greater good, but subordinates when it said subordinates demand explanations on their actions. Sound familiar?) about matters that affect the projects they are involved in, they pick all the "good" meetings, workshops and seminars, AND present the work of the team as THEIR own work, as if they all by themselves did it, with nobody's help. Or the case of certain people who makes a scene and writes TONS of e-mails, and tell on people for being late ONE MINUTE, or leaving ONE MINUTE earlier, and set all kinds of control systems (digital card punching, like Oh My Hyne, We Work at GM doing Car Parts!, or singing on a daily sheet, or punching on a digital fingerprint reader or iris reader), BUT they themselves are late EVERYDAY, leave anytime they want, take looooong lunches, are never in their place and patronize their friends and the people they are sucking up to in completely disregarding the schedule.
This also happens with friends. Oh yes. Or "so called friends". Often you can hear someone passing judgement over others, condemning them for doing this or doing that, but then they themselves do it and act as if it were okay. The typical case, is when they constantly bitch about people who are late and then THEY make you wait an hour or so and don't even send you a message to tell you they are running late. Or have all these demands from others to qualify them as friends or people to be trusted, but actually they don't hit the measure on any of them. Sounds familiar? From personal experience, I've learned that whenever you are meeting someone new, or running into them again after ages of not seeing each other, and soon they mention these "rules" they have, like "friends should call each other often, otherwise they are not friends", or "I demand from my friends to be loyal, otherwise I can't see them as anything but acquintances and I have no time for acquintances", or "I expect my friends to visit me often/invite me often", or "I have a blog/Facebook account/Hi5 account and I consider that friends should always comment on each other", you gara run, and I mean, ruuuuuuuun for your life and don't stop until you are two states away and hit a wall. Funny thing here is that this people don't actually stick to their exhausting rules - though there was this person, I believe in the lj universe, because this blog of mine is rather underground, and few people who know me knows about it, anyway, this person who had this "you gara comment every one of my posts and comments" did initially commented EVERYTHING I posted and commented, though usually on a spammy way, with "I agree with you" or smiley faces or so, but never something substantial. Then as I didn't comment on their comments or one time I made a comment disagreeing, they stopped commenting.
Recently, as I started trying out the world of podcast listening, I came across many podcasters, some of them I love (and my ultimate favorite is always iPod Witch. Please give her a minute of your time and listen to her. She's a Pagan witch from the South of the United States, very nice and gentle, kind soul that makes you feel welcome and at home. I wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone, Pagan or not. She's worth your time), some of them make me laugh (so sad the Valley Witches are no longer podcasting. They were so awesome! They had one of the best promos or bumpers I've ever heard), and then some didn't chick well with me. (For your general information, I listen also to podcasts that are not Pagan or Wiccan or Witchy, such as The Critical Thinker - AWESOME!!! -, Planet Money, Greenpeace, Discovery and so on...) Among them there are some that, for instance insist on how close to their listeners they are and how much they want to involve them in the podcasting, but then go and brag about some "podcaster-only" matter, leaking the message of "oh, you are JUST a listener and couldn't PROBABLY understand what's podcasting about...". Others go on and rant against their fellow podcasters and lable them, say that podcasters are only the ones that do this and this and that - often in the lines of "if you do not put out a podcast regularly, regularly meaning within 30 days, if you don't have a regular segments in your podcasts, if you don't have a script and notes for your podcasts, if you admit that you don't know about something, if all you do is read listener feedback, if all you do is ramble... then you are not a podcaster, only a moron with a mic and a podcast account" -, and then they go and do all these things they criticize, and act as if nothing happened and YET they keep outcasting and pointing fingers at those poor podcasters cutting them out of their "elite circle of true podcasters" because they do not stick to the rules they have come up with and to which they themselves don't stick up to.
As human beings, we are multifaced, to say it somehow. Every person is kind of like a crystal, if you like, with many faces, many sides, and usually none of them are flat and straight, but textured, curved here and there as your ideas and ideals are shaped by the nooks and bumps of your soul, which isn't bad but instead make that side richer and unique. So, when you try to draw a straight line to describe that side, it won't cover it, and from time to time, as you hit a curve on the side, you'll seem like you walk off the line you've drawn. Also, you can't pretend to describe a person or yourself with a flat line, a straight picture, because you and everybody are composed of many pictures. As result, when you find people pushing others to stick to a rule and that rule only, they are bound to break the rule themselves, and make the whole thing fall appart.
So why people keep doing this? Well, for once I believe that the point of setting guidelines (guidelines, not rules, as I believe guidelines are not as constricting or vinculating) is to order the world around you, place a sort of guide or beacon to keep your North. For instance, in religion - whatever religion you choose to practice or not - there are a set of guidelines about how you should lead your actions in order to have a happy, better, harmonious life; or in philosophy, when you "subscribe" to a certain school of thought, I set a series of guidelines to analyze and understand the world around you, freeing you from having to create a new frame each time you come across a topic or problem. However there are always people who create these rules with another purpose, an unterior motive such as getting attention or having a point of leverage to raise over others, lord over others and minimize them.
Lets be honest: all of us have our little personal Book of Rules & Guidelines that frame our opinions, decisions and ideas, and this little book is fantastic. Our little books are dynamic - dynamic, not wobbly and shapeless!! - as whenever we come across a lesson that changes our view on something, our fabulous little book assimilates the lesson and adjusts to it. However our books are personal and for ourselves. It's the little book we apply to ourselves, the one we use to determinate if someone is worthy of our trust, if someone is a good friend or not, if we should take a given risk or not and so. It's not a book that we impose on others to fulfill the rules in them and satisfy us. Still there are people who love to preach and make others run in the circles of their own little "Pete's BFF" reality show, with tasks and tests and games and enslaving others to stupidities that would "prove their worth" and so on. Have you ever thought, for instance, in these stupid shows that if the "prize person" would be submitted to those demeaning, debasing test, would that person pass the test?
I often wonder if people who set all sorts of rules on others do it because they can't set rules on themselves, or maybe because they hate themselves so much, consider themselves so unworthy, that they need to make all others worse, so they don't feel like the bottom of the garbage can. Be it what it may, my recomendations on this matter are as follow:
1. Remember that Your Rules are always to be applied to Yourself.
2. It's okay to judge (judge, but not condemn!) others, based on your previous experiences, and act according to your appreciations (again, APRECIATIONS, not sentencing).
3. Whatever you decide, should mean to you and only to you. You don't need to go and read your conclusions about someone to that person. Usually, if you reject someone for whatever reason, that person can give a rat's ass about what you think of them.
4. When someone comes out with a rulebook about what you should do to be "good" or "accepted", stare deeply into that person's eyes and judge: is that person able to abide to that rulebook? In a meaningful way?
5. Remember that you don't have to abide to the rulebook of someone else. If someone won't accept you if you don't call the everyday and suck up to them, then that person don't really want you, they want a slave. Are you a slave?
Now, I want to state right here something: I said the "Rulebook of Someone". There are generally accepted rulebooks we abide to, and it's good that we do. Courtesy norms, decency norms, respect, empathy... rules we are taught to follow and which make our life in society better for all of us. A basic sense of good and bad, right and wrong would tell you about these. Also, if you are a wholesome, decent person, these are part of your little personal Rulebook. But when you are faced with a person that want you to stir away from who you are and what's natural to you simply to be accepted as a friend, or a group demands you ridiculous things that go against your believes or bump here and there with your believes, I'd strongly suggest you smile, raise your hand slowly, wave it side to side and slowly pedal back and keep doing it until said person or group is out of your sight.
It's important to accept yourself as you are, with your flaws and your virtues - I call them all characteristics, as you might thing something about you is bad, and someone else thinks it's good, or viceversa - and remember that all of them have a function, a meaning in your life, a lesson to teach you, a tool God (or your prefered Deity or Supreme Being) has given you to forge your path in life, so embrace them, and after you've done this, you will be more prepared to accept others as they are. This doesn't mean by any means that you will accept and endure the flaws and features of others that you dislike. This mean you'll accept that people are the way they are, and will be able to then decide if they can have a place in your life or not. It won't keep you from bitching, it won't keep you from being intolerant of certain things, reject certain things or people, won't make you inmune to hurt, BUT it will make you wiser, will make your little personal Rulebook more complete, and will help you to choose the people around you better. :-)