Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Entemology, Pet Peeves and attempting to Define Friendship...

Updated 10/11/06....

The following blog contains sentiments and personal interpretations I have long-held as personal truths. While the inspiration for this blog was based on recent events in my life, I have come to realize that I have been guilty of all of these traits, which I claim to abhor, in the context of this same situation. This blog, as it turns out, is as much about my negative traits as anyone else's.

Therefor, while this blog will remain posted (as they are my own beliefs and it is my right to express them) I wish to express my regret for my own actions contrary to them and apologize to anyone whom I have ever hurt by displaying such characteristics.

As a human, I am imperfect, but as an adult, I take reponsibility for my own imperfection and attempt to improve upon myself. That is my choice.

Thank you. Feel free to read on...

REPOSTED 10/8/06...

hy-poc-ri-sy - [hi-POK-ruh-see] -noun, plural -sies.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

This is on the top of my list for a reason. To claim a behavior is wrong, and moreover, to berate and chastise a person for their behavior while being guilty of the same behavior you claim to despise is hypocrisy. I can find no positive or redeeming use of this term. It is based on pretense (pretending or feigning; make-believe) and therefore based in falsehood.

We have all been guilty of it at one time or another, including myself. When I am accused of it, I attempt to acknowledge it and rectify the damage my hypocrisy has done. Mind you, I don't simply mean correcting someone's behavior or pointing out a mistake, it's the indignant (from the Latin, indignus, meaning unworthy) attitude and pretense of never being guilty of the same mistake. It's not so much the hypocrisy itself that bothers me - we all make mistakes and forget our own faults. It's the unwillingness to acknowledge hypocrisy and apologize for it that infuriates me, which brings me to my next pet peeve…

self-right-eous-ness - [self-RAHY-chuh s-nes, self-] -adjective
a state of confidence in one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

I have no problem with the first part of this definition (confidence in one's own righteousness). To be confident in one's own beliefs is a good thing. It leads to a clear perspective on one's own goals and how to achieve them, as well as defines a person's character and direction in life. The second half of the definition is the part that always leads to trouble, (esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others).

It is this smugly (contentedly confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent) moralistic (a person concerned with regulating the morals of others, as by imposing censorship), and intolerant (not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, usages, manners, etc., different from one's own; bigoted) attitude that leads to closed-mindedness, conflict, and hatred. This attitude hurts the hypocrite and the accused by leading to tension and exclusion that may have otherwise been mutually beneficial and satisfying. It closes doors and prevents opportunity.

Now, on a more personal note and only vaguely related…

friend [frend] -noun
1. a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
2. a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter: friends of the Boston Symphony.
3. a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile: Who goes there? Friend or foe?

More specifically, the use of this word. Now, granted, this term has different meaning to different people. I don't think anyone can argue the primary definition of "friend" (a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard). However, our expectations of our friends are our own.

We all have different levels of friends - best friend, good friend, friendly acquaintance, colleague, old friend, new friend, red friend, blue friend. It is how these friends fit into these categories, by our own standards and definitions that rank and rate their priority in our lives. I was going to give some idea of how I rank and rate my friends, but besides opening up a whole world of shit and possibly alienating any of them, it changes from day to day as I think about conversations events and the like.

Suffice it to say, I rank family first most of the time and I don't rank friends on what they do FOR me as much as whether they're helpful, honest, understanding, forgiving, open-minded, and have a track record of being there when I absolutely need them to the best of their individual ability. This does not necessarily include those I see most often (hell I barely have time to see my own reflection these days). People are busy and have their own lives to lead and their own set of priorities, and I try not to force MY values and priorities on them. I hold no EXPECTATIONS of my friends and try not to impose on them, if I can avoid it. If I'm not considered as good a friend to someone as I consider them, I don't pine over it.

Regardless, I don't discard a friend. Whether I am discarded is up to them, but I choose never to close a door to someone who may someday bless my life again or whose life I may be able to bless. If you have been my friend - you still are. Infinitives like never, always, and forever, while sentimental and romantic at times, usually close more doors than they open - particularly when used for exclusion.

Okay, after ranting for 3 paragraphs, I've lost my clarity of purpose. My point is that a friend (to me) is not someone that does things for you, but someone who will be there for you in your times of trouble, lift you up however they can, an hopefully have some fun with you along the way. Many of those I consider my dearest friends I have not seen in years and/or only speak with occasionally via e-mail or IM. I have 2 or 3 I consider my 'best friends', and I don't get to see them very often either. Just because we can't coincide schedules and go out for a beer, doesn't mean I don't love them. Just because they're not always in my view doesn't mean they're not always in my heart.

Arguments blow over, tempers cool, individual instances lose their significance in the big picture, but friendship, to me (and pardon my sentimental use of a dreaded infinitive) is forever.

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