Note: This is one of my 35 Lessons in 35 Years.
I used to be someone who easily became defensive. I could often amass the courage to “stand up for myself,” and I felt good when I did. In many of my interactions, especially when they involved differing viewpoints, there was something I needed to defend, to protect.
But what was it that I needed to defend? What needed protecting?
I’ve learned that I can have great Friends Who Have Lots of Stuff, and the way I live is in no way being threatened. Most of my friends even live in *gasp* houses! And here I am, on Breaking Tradition, as happy as a clam, not threatened at all.
Most of my friends vote differently than I do, and yet my views are not being threatened.
If someone has different views spiritually or religiously, that is in no way a threat to what I think to be true.
When we feel defensive, we need to realize that there is nothing there to defend. Our freedom to explore the world and live our lives is not being threatened.
In fact, think about it. We love by default. We like each other, until there is “reason” not to.
But what is that “reason”? Often, it is nothing more than fear and misunderstanding. Deep down, we all want to love each other.
Our stories are similar. We all have faced fear, we all have misunderstood, and we all are doing the best we can, with the tools we have.
We might be living in a way that differs from the norm, but that doesn’t make us any less a part of it all. There is no way to not be a part of humanity. We teach each other, whether we realize it or not. We impact and are impacted by everyone we encounter.
I used to worry that I didn’t “matter.” I used to feel like I had to find something to do, to earn my place amongst humanity. A lot of us feel that way.
But the truth is, we don’t need to try and do something grand in order to earn our place. We have a place, and we all belong. We are all a part of something larger than ourselves, just by being here and teaching the lessons that we have to teach, through sharing our joys and struggles, offering a shoulder, and inviting those around us to see us without our masks and facades.