Trigger warning. This post may piss you off, but at least I want it to offer a little food for thought. Talk of freedoms are all the rage, but do we know what they mean? In the fourth grade, I was taught that a person’s freedom ends when another person’s freedom begins. I have the right to swing my fists about the air, but the second they strike another’s nose, I have violated their freedom.
In the next section enjoy a real life situation that may have you think twice about what true freedom means. The example may sound trivial to begin with, but trust me, I am going somewhere. While you read these freedom scenarios, how would you feel as the main character in each situation?
Freedoms Fighter #1: There I was driving through The Palouse on a sunny Spring afternoon when *Splat! While I love this part of the country, it seems every trip I empty and entire bottle of windshield cleaner. Like clockwork, the second I clean off one suicidal bug, another slams right in my view. I spray the magical bug cleaner once again. Unfortunately I have to spray for a bit because most of it flies over my windshield into the air. But it is worth it. The spray only costs about $2 per bottle, but the drive is priceless.
Freedoms Fighter #2: As if it came out of nowhere! There I am driving home from work in my dilapidated Honda Accord when suddenly the car in front of me sprays me with a massive amount of windshield cleaner. My wipers don’t work, so I have to be careful when I drive. Today, on a clear sunny afternoon, I am stuck behind this jackass who cleans the entire highway with each spray. As if I don’t have enough problems to deal with. I now have to pull over and manually wipe down my windshield. I hope I don’t catch up to him again or else I’ll be pulling over constantly.
What to do with that
Seems like an innocent situation right? The driver in the front has no idea he is encroaching on the freedoms of the driver behind, but it infuriates the rear driver. So let me ask you, who is right and who is wrong? What if I told you they are both wrong and both right? The problem isn’t that another person’s freedoms have inconvenienced the freedoms of another, but that neither driver is looking at the situation from the perspective of each other. The driver in the from knows his windshield fluid is flying over his car, but that is the most he thinks about it. Similarly, the driver in the rear thinks the driver in the front is being irresponsible, but in fact, he just wants to see.
What can we do about it? It seems like an impossible task to see every perspective in life from another’s point of view, but what if I told you it is quite easy? See the problem us humans, and yes that includes me, is that we have a selfish nature in which we first think about how our actions will affect us. While the fact of the matter is that many decisions we make in life only affect us for a short period of time, but the ripple affects last a lifetime. As a father, when I lose my temper and yell, my bad mood and reaction usually is only short lived in my memory, but done often enough I will create a negative legacy for my children. Interested on seeing how this can apply more in your life? Send me a message and I would love to chat.
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