Monday, February 23, 2009

Pity vs. Respect?

Several years ago I discovered a website which I thought had some very good advice on how to come out to your family. These were the bits that really struck me:

You don't want a parent to feel sorry for you; they won't take this as seriously as you want them to if they pity you. . . .

Be patient with them; if they don't accept it right off, don't be angry with them. This is a very big thing for them and for you. You are not the only person going through this transition; your parents or parent goes through it with you, just in a different way. No matter how much they may cry, fall apart, rant, or fall silent, always be the strong one; the adult. . . .

If you give in to childish behavior and act like a victim, you disrespect yourself and you lose the respect of them in the long run.

In general, I don't want people to pity me. (And I believe that self-pity is probably the most pernicious thing in the universe.) I like it when people respect me, although they don't always.

I'm writing about this now because I find myself in a place where neither pity nor respect seem appropriate. Over the past year I've been struggling with certain things that are very difficult for me. (No, not my gender -- or at least, that's been difficult for entirely different reasons.) I have to admit that I've been pretty stupid. I'm not accustomed to feeling stupid, and I have to admit it, not just to myself, but to other people.

Anyway, I still don't want pity and I don't (yet) deserve respect. Because everybody does stupid things sometimes. So this is some kind of middle ground, called life, I guess.