For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Monday, March 26, 2007

Love and Understanding

Just a few thoughts I want to share.
I came across several situations this week that left me wondering why some people have such strong - and strongly outspoken - opinions about matters or people that they actually know very little about.
A very dear friend of mine told me about her former lover with whom she met to try and discuss why things didn’t work out between them. He spent most of the time filling her ears with his opinions, judgments if you like, about her.
A cyberfriend spoke about meeting a childhood friend who clearly disapproved of her home educating and her maybe not so tidy, but oh so lively lifestyle.
People in government seem to think that home educated children need monitoring because heaven knows what would happen to them without big brother watching them.
All too often I hear people express opinions about other people, and you’d think they’ve done extensive research to be able to speak with such authority about people who they think are different from them, because of a different religion, colour, cultural background, income, lifestyle... whatever...

I was trying to work out when and why I myself am judgmental. Hardly ever, of course ;)), but still... every now and then even I show signs of imperfection.
I was thinking it maybe has to do with an inability or unwillingness to understand, and when you don’t understand something, the easiest way of getting on top of it is to classify and disapprove. Anything, as long as you don’t have to admit that you don’t understand.
And then my sister gave me this quote from Leo Tolstoy. I wrote it down, read it over and over again and slowly but surely it sank in. I’m sharing it, hoping that I’m also sharing the feeling of relief and insight that came over me:
All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love.


Lisa said...

How true, yet somehow particularly in the uk understanding your family out of your love for them seems to be interpreted as being paranoid and over-protective or even strange. I've certainly discovered who my friends are since taking Sarah out of school.

The bees yesterday were great thanks, Sarah keep creeping up on us and dangling it in front of us.

IndigoShirl said...

Yep, the words "understand" and "love" are used often but rarely as they should be..... here's to greater understanding all round!