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Subtle Discrimination & Interpersonal Relationships

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posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 05:41 AM
I thought about posting this in rants, but I'm not much of a 'ranter and I've decided I'd rather have opinions than strokes, so I'm posing no questions but I hope for reflection and to elicit a freedom in opinions and discussion.

When considering interpersonal relationships few could lay claim to having only positive one. According to Maslow's 'heirarchy of needs' an inherent part of human nature is the need to belong, to feel validated and justified in existence and purpose. And perhaps it is for this reason that many strive for meaningful relationships despite past failings in them, but this post is not about relationships or Maslow per se, rather it is about how it is possible to limit and restrict interpersonal relationships without even realizing it.

Take cliques for example. To get to the inside of one it can at times take considerable effort, and as a result of these efforts less time might be spent in ascertaining whether the group/clique is ‘worth’ belonging to. As a result when focusing on the ideal of belonging the more subtle nuances of character, values, beliefs etc can be easily overlooked. And when considering beliefs interpersonal relationships can become even more fraught with deception. Character cannot be measured by a person’s belief system, for example a claim to ‘Christianity’ doesn’t necessarily make someone a saint, nor does being atheist make someone evil. And never is this more evident than when someone holds onto a belief so rigidly that they hold it up as a measuring stick for worthiness in others. This does not allow the freedom to see beyond the color of someone’s skin, religious beliefs or lack thereof, gender, age etc, but discrimination can be even more subtle and these subtleties are often discounted for the more obvious cases of color and creed.

Failing to be open to the nuances of individuality and character restricts the capacity to experience and in turn grow and mature. Interpersonal relationships are about building bridges, but when judgments are made in relation to what is perceived or assumed it can have the affect of destroying tentative foundations of a budding relationship/connection. The possible exceptions to this are individuals with the capacity to either endure (martyrdom/stubborn) or those who allow themselves to openly explore the vulnerability of the relationship without feeling a need to justify their own position or sense of worth.

When seeking out those who are like minded in favor of someone with a different belief system, it is important to remember that belief does not make character though it can help sculpt it and though like may attract like without the sandpaper the sculpting may be slower.



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