“Of course I care. To a certain extent we all care, but we can’t care to the point that we live in fear of others’ opinion, that we allow them to change who we are. We must be willing to stand up and defend what represents the very core of our being. Otherwise what is the purpose of individuality? We’d be nothing but imitations of each other, and I daresay we’d all be rather boring.” ~ Lorraine Heath, In Bed with the Devil
I got into a fight with someone whom I have known for almost ten years now. I was very close with this person (R) and told this person many things about myself. Through the course of my friendship with R, I also shared my frustrations and complaints about various areas of my life.
I met up with R during my trip to Greece. R was kind enough to accompany me as a quasi tour guide as I made my way through various locales in Greece. On the second to last day, we had walked around Plaka, the area beneath the Parthenon. R took me to one of Athen’s most famous bars, and we ended the evening with a few cocktails.
During the walk back to my hotel, we started to discuss mutual connections. R gave an opinion about one of my friends, J, and opined that J may be lying about her situation so that I would pity her and be more sympathetic towards her. I did not agree with R about this assessment of J’s character and I said as much. R then opined about another friend, P, who also happens to be R’s sister, and said that P, as well as J, makes excuses about their past and their current lives, and that they do not own up to their actions. R went on to say, “Actually you do as well. You also make excuses for your past. You never own up to why your marriage failed, and instead make excuses.” I told R that I really was not in the mood to hear any opinions about my past, especially considering that I did not agree with how a particular situation was handled in R’s own life. Suffice it to say, in retrospect, both R and I were not particularly open-minded or welcoming about opinions regarding our lives, but sensitive words were exchanged. I told R to stop and that I didn’t want to hear any more. R has known me well, and knows how hard I already am on myself, for everything in my life, especially my past. But for some reason, R felt the need to express every judgment, and was even quite adamant that I hear every last negative assessment of me, despite my requests that the discussion be dropped. I started to become angry, and I felt very insulted that R chose to tell me and insist to tell me during my vacation how screwed up I am. I simply lost the desire to continue my remaining time of my vacation with R, so I became dismissive and told R that I could continue the rest of my vacation alone.
Whether or not R’s assessment of my life is correct is not the point. I was on vacation. I took time off from work to get away from my life, not to face whatever issues R thought I had to face. I read somewhere that most people who are so judgmental are actually projecting how they feel about their own lives.