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When did it become more important to be polite than compassionate?

Things were simple as a washer woman with a falcon flying past...I’ve spent the first 18 years of my life in an unsafe state; switching between anxiety, panic attacks and depression. At university and through this blog, I found supportive places.

I joined an online Native American Spirituality group who confirmed to me “no, that isn’t okay.” I made friends with people who believed in the power of positive thinking and even had a lovely card and bright magnet saying I was part of something good. I sought out yoga and meditation, took my vows of attempting pacifism through druidry and began a gratitude practise.

I offered my home and my listening ear to those who needed it, including people I didn’t like – because they deserve to be listened to – no matter what my feelings were for them.


Now I’m an adult. I have a job and a flat. I’m meant to have “more control” of my life. I’m meant to be polite and kind, to balance me-time with social-time and having been told for 18 years to SAY NO and Don’t Give In To Peer Pressure – suddenly I’m supposed to go to this party and you must eat that last cake and well they’re family so you have to.

People are different, and it’s about time this world actually thought about that.

How is it fair to put me through anxiety, anger and a sleepless night just because you enjoy something? When did it become unacceptable to politely decline? When did it become okay for people to make snide remarks about things that have always been so? They are some things I have never liked. To say I “suddenly” don’t like it now after 20-odd years of not liking it is not appropriate. And rude. And shows you’ve not cared enough to listen before.

I’m so tired of trying to dodge the “don’t be so politically correct” comments as if being equal and compassionate is something negative.

I’m sick of not being listened to because they’re already speaking over me. There’s that phrase from Fight Club about people who: “actually listen to you instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.” But I’m noticing more and more that they don’t even bother with that courtesy.

They talk over me. And they do it as if it’s not incredibly rude and demoralising. As if I’m not an adult with the same rights as them. 

It saddens me to think that even the people who can be understanding and talk about being caring don’t take the time to listen or think about why someone is saying no.

And it worries me that you can’t just say “no, thank you” any more.

If you ask me to JUSTIFY why I’m saying no, you need to find a new friend. Because it’s not necessary and not always appropriate. Especially if I then trust you with the answer and you then try to change my mind – pressure me into it. So just don’t ask.

Is this just me? Or is this actually something important we need to be addressing? What’s more important – compassion or social-acceptability? 

I know which I value more.