A 20th century Catholic monk and writer Thomas Merton, wrote:
“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
I believe that is partly true. Rather than us insisting other people be like us, we should learn to respect other people’s differences, as long as those differences don’t begin to impact our health or our lives. In that case, there would be no reason why we cannot celebrate and love others for who they are.
Instead, we tend to react a certain way, expecting others to conform to our beliefs and tend to ignore them if we don’t. We all inherently have the ability to reason and respect each other. It’s part of the human condition, but it’s not something all of us will do. We must all choose to be conciliatory towards each other. We must show kindness.
No one should be allowed to hurt, just as no one should be allowed to take away another person’s freedom of will to make their own choices about how they want to live or how they see their lives. We must be tolerant of other people and their beliefs. As a child has boundaries established, so adults too must establish proper boundaries.
I think however, that when we come to terms with letting go of our need to control others to fit an image of us, or ignore others because they don’t agree with our beliefs and the way we choose to live our lives, we automatically release ourselves from the anxiety and frustration that comes with us wanting to control. We will come to enjoy serenity and peace.
I have seen first hand what happens when our beliefs are so deeply ingrained that we become intolerant of how other people live. It helps to remember that we all have a right to be ourselves and to accept that we’re all different.