How do you cope with, spend time with, tolerate, care about, love – or even be pleasant to – people who don’t care deeply about the things that you feel really matter in life, and who instead have what you see as more selfish or ill-thought-out preferences?
I find it pretty much impossible to give of myself to people when I discover or suspect they might be right-wing or have views against my own instincts about kindness and society. The “each to their own” thing simply doesn’t work for me. I find myself thinking how my position on society is about caring for our most vulnerable and protecting our planet for the future, and anyone who isn’t thinking like that is not simply offering an alternative viewpoint but is actually selfish. There are alternative views about all-sorts that I can cope with (ask my sister Sophie about her music tastes or my husband about his TV and sport taste!) and I am happy to accept that most people wouldn’t want a life as quiet as mine, or to have a family, or to have a dog, or eat the same food as me, watch the same TV programmes, etc, etc, etc… but why would you be right-wing? And why would you criticise socialists – who only want the best for everyone – particularly the more vulnerable members or society?
When I am nice to someone, when I smile at someone, when I talk to someone, I mean it. It’s about caring. Why should I give so much of my genuine self to people when they really are only just on-the-surface pleasant but not really deeply thinking about the wider world or the impact of their actions long-term?
Surely I don’t have to like them or give of myself to them… ? I feel false when I do. I feel dishonest, and I feel I’ve given something I’ll never get back.
I don’t even think it works the other way round. I don’t think people with opposing views to my own actually care enough for it to work the other way round.
Put simply, I just don’t want to be friends with or spend time with people who are right-wing. I don’t like them – however nice they can appear. I just don’t think they think deeply enough for me. And that sounds so arrogant but I don’t feel arrogant I just feel how can you think deeply and not live accordingly? You can’t.
I’m torn between thinking it’s a problem and thinking it’s actually reasonable. I’m not unpleasant, I don’t cause wars, I just want my energy and my genuine warmth to be spent wisely. Maybe it’s because everything I do is so very very real that I use up my communication energy quickly and I’m tired of shallow people.
I’d rather know a tiny number of gentle, humble, caring people than hundreds of people I don’t understand. And yet I see most people aren’t like that. They are happy to have many acquaintances and let their opposing opinions wash over them.
Maybe I simply wasn’t born with a middle ground…