When do our affiliations (political, religious, lifestyle, etc) get in the way of our ability to see clearly?
Do your affiliations cause you to turn your back on those who don’t see things the way you do?
This question has been up for me lately. I have noticed that as humans, we love to be affiliated with a group. Our affiliation often causes us to stand for the group’s beliefs and suppress or ignore our own, personal truths. There is a tendency to loose our clear vision in our desire to be included in something beyond ourselves.
This happens in relationships as well. One or both people will give up their individuality to be a part of an “us”, later wondering “Where did I go? Who am I? I don’t know where I end and you begin anymore.”
Strong affiliations are behind mob mentality, cult membership, terrorism, gang membership, and let’s face it, all religious and political groups desire to swing the beliefs of their members in a particular direction. This is what I’m suggesting you look out for in your own life.
A few days ago I was having lunch with a dear friend, and the subject of vegetarianism came up. I was a strict vegetarian (also vegan for a while) in the past and my friend was asking advice as she and her husband are on a path toward vegetarianism. The reason they are on this new path is because of a class we are all in which strongly suggests vegetarianism to its members.
I think vegetarianism is great, and I recommend it to anyone who desires it. Something I noticed, however, is that during the years I was vegetarian and vegan, I was closely affiliated with other vegetarians and vegans, and I had some judgments and negative attitudes toward people who ate the animals. This is the very reason people who are not vegetarian often avoid eating or discussing food with vegetarians. They feel judged.
The same is true for my religious background. I was raised Lutheran. (I have nothing against the Lutheran religion; this is strictly a personal insight!) I noticed a desire to prove that I was participating in the “right” religion, and I would even debate about it with my Catholic boyfriend in high school!
Sometimes this desire to be right is so subtle that it is undetectable until we take out a microscope and really do some soul searching. (We seem to be able to see this much more clearly in others than in ourselves, don’t you think?)
Today I received a forward from a female friend who is a smart and beautiful person. The email contained derogatory jokes about Hillary Clinton, all told by men, making negative remarks about Hillary as a potential presidential candidate. Now politically I have not spent my time supporting Hillary, but I was really struck by these degrading comments. This is my response to the negativity toward Hillary:
We are at a time in history where women are finally able to participate in politics and have jobs that were “unthinkable” for women in the near past. It wasn’t long ago that women were not allowed to vote!
Regardless of your personal feelings about Hillary or your political preference, I think it’s important to look at the bigger picture and notice we may have a WOMAN running for president. How many women have accomplished what she has in such an exclusively man’s world (politics)?
Yes, this is a blatant women’s lib speech, and I think we need to support the women in our culture who are paving the way for our daughters and sons to have truly equal rights.
Choose your affiliations carefully; stand for what your heart tells you is true, and notice where you are judging people based on their religious, political, lifestyle, and relationship choices. I could quote a bible verse here but I’ll spare you!