On Being Naive
January 23, 2012 1 Comment
Recently, I’ve been called an “idealist,” in a scoffing, “you’re so naive about the way the world works” sort of way, in addition to being accused of having a “skewed view of the world” by several different people, in discussions of a few different topics.
Perhaps I am an idealist, but I certainly don’t have any “skewed” view of the world.
Rather, I expect more. I have high standards, for myself, and for others.
I don’t believe I should accept the world as is, because “that’s how it is.” That is because I believe in doing the right thing. I believe in conducting my life with integrity. I believe in respect. I believe in paying forward all the things that my mentors have taught me.
I have had a multitude of experiences that have taught me the importance of empathy, compassion, integrity, respect, activism, and recognizing that nothing is simple.
I give to others exactly what I’d want for myself–including a verbal smackdown if I fucked up.
I am not perfect, but I always strive to be better.
There is always a story. Much of what I’ve learned has a story behind it–personal experiences that have radically changed me. Truly awful experiences that have convinced me to change something–my views, my behavior, or something about the “way the world is.” I’ve met, worked with, befriended, or was taught by so many amazing people, and they have changed me, too. I’ve had amazing experiences that have changed me as well. I am indebted to all of those people, and all of these things.
The people who scoff at my supposed naivete are vastly underestimating me. And, you know? That’s alright. They haven’t gotten to know me, for the most part. Once they do, if they do, they’ll change their minds. Many people have changed their minds about me–and some of the people who, in the past, thought I was mean, or rude, or ignorant, are some of my closest friends today. We learned from one another–even if we don’t agree. And that’s fine. My friends are precious to me, and I’m so glad we took the time to look past our differing views of the world. I’m glad we took the time to understand one another, because now? We know better-we’ve learned, not just about “the other side” but also that behind the politics, we’re good people. I’ve changed minds; they’ve changed mine.
I’m a better person for it all–and you know what? I still have high standards. I still have boundaries. I still have deal-breakers.
If that means, to you, that my worldview is skewed–that doesn’t say a whole lot about me.