I used to wonder if I was being fair when I decided not to engage with people on certain topics, if I was not giving their opinions a fair airing.
After all, I do want people to feel heard.
But, then, I listened and I realized that there are certain types of people who do not just want to be heard, they want to take away from others so they have more. And I can tell when I encounter them because I can feel my energy and my empathy draining away.
That’s when I realized that sometimes it comes down to my values.
And my most sincerely held values involve maximizing the love in the world, increasing kindness levels, and ensuring that the vulnerable feel safe.
So, if the opinions they are espousing reduce love, reduce kindness or reduce safety then it is my job to stand against that, but it doesn’t mean that I have any responsibility to ensure that they feel heard. I don’t have to let them rail against me. I don’t have to give them equal time.
They are welcome to have their own opinions but they are not welcome to impose them on others.
I will stand for love. I will stand for kindness. I will stand for protecting the vulnerable.*
I will not stand for hate.
*I understand that some of the people I am thinking of believe that they are protecting some of the vulnerable but their version of protection amplifies hate. Mine does not. I will not allow it to stand.