There are two words I have used and have heard others use. Words that have a certain power to call you to action or to defy other’s expectations. You may even feel indifferent about the use of these two words.
These two words are, “be considerate.”
We may use the phrase, “be considerate,” when someone exhibits intolerance. We may use it to remind ourselves that “stirring the pot” isn’t always beneficial for a relationship. Even if that relationship is with a person we deem an adversary.
But what does being considerate really mean?
We can only understand what being considerate really means, for ourselves and how our actions will affect others, when we define it for ourselves. It will depend on our personalities, our emotional well-being, and our specific circumstances.
Some people may believe that others are being considerate when they choose to do what is most harmonious for the majority of a group. This could mean attending a party we do not wish to attend or changing our personality to be accepted by a collection of strangers. This could be the moment we buy that item our best friend is urging us to get, even when we don’t really have the money for it. It is the moment we say “yes” when we should really say “no.”
Yet, there are also moments when we say “no” and we should really say, “yes.” It is the moment procrastination becomes a part of our daily routine, even though we have a multitude of errands to accomplish. The moment we are feeling lonely and need to reach out to someone, but don’t. It is the day we deny ourselves any kind of new experience, for the sake of self-preservation.
In certain situations, it can be difficult to realize whether or not we are being considerate, to whom we are being inconsiderate to, and who needs to ultimately “win” in the end. If we are being destructive and we are aware of it, it may benefit everyone involved that we leave the party. If we choose to play along with the person who asks us to alter our personality for the reward of admiration, it is our decision whether or not we are being considerate to ourselves. If it is a situation that would benefit our growth as an individual, it may be best to force ourselves against the usual grain.
When the pressure of other people is involved, we need to look back to who we really are and what’s best for us. What is more inconsiderate than denying others a behavior they wish for you to exhibit or showing up to an event you do not desire to attend, is to show up without the bulk of your true self. When we do this, people like to believe we are giving them something (ex: our time) when we give into their wishes but, in truth, we are not. When we are intentionally being a pseudo-version of ourselves, we are giving them nothing. Nothing good, anyway.
How we treat ourselves has a direct correlation to how we treat others. If we decide to let other people’s opinions decide what we do and who we are and only give them a sliver of our identity, they will never get to see the fullness of our existence. We may even deny our own selves the fullness of our existence if we choose to let societal pressures win. Ultimately, missing out on the beauty of our blemishes and our strengths.