With a certain awareness or enlightenment often comes a sense of urgency to tell other people what you've learned. As men and women who are environmentally conscious (as I believe you are, if you're reading this site) and who believe in the importance of educating both themselves and others in lighter, cleaner living for both the good of the earth and of humanity, I have to wonder: when does a healthy sense of obligation turn into an unhealthy sense of entitlement?
I think we've all been there, on both the giving and receiving end:
- A trip to the grocery store turns into a panicked rush for the checkout line lest any of your food co-op friends see the paper towels in your shopping cart.
- A new dress that you feel fabulous in elicits a 10-minute lecture from your friend on overconsumption and the cotton industry's ransacking of the ecosystem.
- A co-worker who indulges in a hamburger finds a pamphlet on veganism in her office mailbox.
- A relative who drives to work gets not-so-subtle hints that they'd be better off biking.
- A mom who uses Tide gets an emotional spanking at her playgroup for exposing her kids to all those chemicals.
...and it goes on.
On issues that are near and dear to us, how do we distinguish between sharing and shoving? Where is the line between encouraging and "educating," between giving your opinion and giving offense? If we don't know whether or not people will be open to what we have to say, do we still say something? When does passion become just another self-indulgent soapbox?
I'm reminded of this quote I read once, attributed to Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Tell me your thoughts below.
Previous Weekend Meditations: