Jan 13, 2013

opinion number 3,861

We owe it to show our loved ones respect, affection and the proper level of discretion in public.

Yes, yes, this must seem like a no brainer. Obvious. In general, we owe it to our loved ones to show them respect period.
But if I could count the amount of times, on my hands, that I have seen couples quarrel or bicker, the amount of times I have seen parents yell mean or demeaning things, the incidences of public corrections or intimation of error, I could supply you with a lifetime of applause.

And no, I am not advocating for a lifetime of quiet repression, of cloistered subjugation and a private hell. If you are with someone so damaging that you need to reveal that in public, go to it. But if that is the case, if you are in any kind of relationship that is privately compromising or abusive, to the extent that public airing is your only recourse, you might have bigger issues to consider.

And no, I am suggesting that friends shouldn't share their woes, look for solutions, vent and move on. It is only natural to want to get things off your chest, and often sharing issues helps us build intimacy, gain perspective and come up with solutions.

But that is not what I talking about. If you keep it like a secret, you'll probably carry it with you always. Secrets and discretion are not the same animal.

But I digress, because I want to approach the real reason you might wish to show love, respect, discretion and admiration in public, and that is because of you.

When your husband, wife, child is uncomfortably yelled at, corrected, shamed or belittled in public it seldom does much in the eyes of the public. Generally, in fact, it is likely to inspire sympathy, confusion, and discomfort, and depending on the level and reception, maybe a little pity. Everyone has issues, and most people don't want them aired in public.

By airing another's problem or issue you are not inviting the public to judge them, you are inviting them to judge you. Your judgement, your taste, your standards, and your priorities.

Think about it, when you hear someone yelled at in public, or even unkindly correct and shamed, your first thought is: is this really that big a transgression.
The flow chart goes from there to
No--why would a person embarrass someone is public for something so minor?
Yes---wow, that sucks, wonder why the person yelling puts up with it/how long they have put up with/if they are dealing with that now, wonder how often they deal with that in public.

And yes, we all make mistakes, and we all could stand to work on this. In fact I bring this up because it is an area of growth I wish to work on.
And yes...everyone has a bad day, saying what you wish you would have, especially in public, is no one's favorite memory.

But if you do it a lot...if you air your issues and problems and make it clear you spend lots of time around someone that does things that constantly frustrate you, really annoy you, or actually hurt or offend you, consider what you are really saying about yourself. What you are saying about your standards, and your self love and your choices. I mean, if your partner is that intolerable, why are you with them, if your kids are that unmanageable...didn't you raise them, and isn't your duty to keep supporting and trying and helping? And if your friends are that awful, well, man, get a good book...how desperate are you to hang out with people that even bug you that much?

These are your compromises. Make them with pride or reconsider them.

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