Friday, October 19, 2007

Respect versus Approval?

Friend: Would you have the courage to stand up for what you firmly believe in among a group of friends and people that you respect? I sometimes think that it's easier to stand firm in the face of adversity. But are we unsure what to do when we are among friends who don't believe in what we believe ?

Me: I try to do that as much as I can - and if I encounter some sort of resistance/mockery etc, I look at it objectively and ignore/address it as necessary.
If you think it's worth explaning your beliefs to someone who you know will listen objectively and you are comfortable enough to do so, it's definitely worth it. Else, there is no point.

It's sometimes frustrating to be among friends whom you love and respect who just don't really get you or your beliefs - in which case, you have to evaluate if the issue is important enough or bothers you enough to the level that you might need to reconsider the friendship. But I find that most friendships are temporary. Whereas beliefs are usually lifelong. So sometimes it just might not be worth it. And sometimes, you like/love people so much that you just put aside the fact that they don't believe in what you do.

In the face of adversities or when trying to make a life-changing decision (ex. marriage?), things can change.

Friend: A couple of good friends and I had a discussion about religion and spirituality last night. That's when I realized that it's harder to share opposing beliefs within a group of people I care about than with people who are not close. Is it because deep down we have a need to belong and seek approval?

Off late I try to live in such a way ... to only seek respect not approval. Does that make sense?

Me: Sometimes you like people for their personality, the fun/comfort level/chemistry you have with them. Sometime you like people for their beliefs/convictions. Very rarely will you find friends who you gel with for BOTH. And if you do find them, you have to try to keep them for life!! :)

Respect not approval is what I strive for as well. There's no way you can really get approval from everyone. Noone can.

What do you think?


Mommy G said...

I agree. There used to be a point in my life when I would expect everyone to understand and approve what I believed and probably even agree that if they didn't believe the same, they are wrong. But soon I realised my thought process was wrong and I would keep no friends if I didn't change.

For example, vegetarianism is big in my life. But I realised it's totally wrong when I accuse a meat-eater for his dietary choice. Circumstances, family, situations have made them make those choices. And I have no right to oppose/critcise what they are doing. Can only explain what I am doing and why. Ofcourse I don't think I would like to stand up in front of a bunch of meat-eating friends that I love and talk about this unless specifically asked to! That's not going to lead to much good.

Yes definitely strive to gain respect and not approval in my choices.

Gokul said...

I can relate very well to what u say.. respect vs. approval with friends. i've felt this many times (esp while talking about religion, right and wrong) when i would feel strongly against some point of view, but wouldn't even show it unless someone asked me, not because of disapproval, but just because i'd not feel reason enough to do it and prove a point.

On the other hand, i think it should somewhat be the opposite.. when u've got friends, it should be kinda easier for us to share our views (whether same or different) with them than to a stranger.. this brings us to what we actually look for in friends.. approval and recognition, common interests, comfort level.. i guess at the root of it all is a natural self-satisfying need.. and i think we need to be aware of that fact.