I don’t know why, but all my life I’ve refused to wear plaid. I have had plaid avoidance for most of my life.
Could it be those Happy Days shows where Richie, Potsie and Ralph the Mouth all wore plaid? Was it the Plaid flannel shirts from my childhood years when I didn’t get to decide what I wore? Today as I walked past a mirror I noticed. I am wearing plaid!
I don’t know how I picked up my plaid avoidance, but as quickly as it came I lost it ! What happened?
Changes are happening in me. Some (most) things about me stay the same, but then others shift like tectonic plates below the surface of my identity. I am continually becoming!
So, what does this all matter you say? Why are you writing a blog about plaid avoidance?
It goes to say that we are ever-changing and ever-growing and to deny ourselves or those around us to grow and changes is unrealistic and devalues our personal growth. Change is our prerogative and it is healthy. No one should hold our changing against us. No one should be allowed to pigeonhole us in one mindset, skill set, political group or persona. I guess what I am saying is that shedding my plaid avoidance shouldn’t be held against me even though I’ve had it for probably 30 or 40 years. Plaid avoidance has been a strongly held value of mine for a long time and I just changed!
In our very public culture it seems to me there are people who are continually choosing sides instead of choosing to care for each other. Why can’t we be accepting of one another and public figures and allow each other to have different views and opinions? Who’s to say our opinion today will still be the same tomorrow?
Do you want to be judged on things you did or believed years ago that you don’t now? No! you’ve grown, experienced, learned and refined yourself. You are better today than you were! The same is true of everyone including those with whom you disagree.
Hey, I wear plaid!
Ok so plaid isn’t as controversial as animal abuse, immigration, gender equality, genetic engineering, evolution, terrorism, politics or religion. Plaid is my metaphor for the behavior I am witnessing in our culture concerning these and other controversial issues.
I when I had plaid aversion did I walk around telling people they were wrong for wearing plaid? Did I do blogs, call the police or the local television stations, or write social media posts against plaid? Did I post pictures of people looking bad in plaid and insult plaid lovers or degrade them?
Here’s the big one: Did I associate people who do or do not wear plaid an indicator of their acceptance of me personally. “If you accept plaid you don’t accept me.”
NO! Absolutely No!
If we disagree it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or that I can cut you down or demean you!
Oh, I know it is likely you will say the big topics in our culture are more important than plaid. Yes they are, but let us stop driving wedges between us. Stop identifying how we disagree and focus more on the things that unite us.
So my thoughts today are this:
1. Notice and embrace the change in your life. Change is a sign you are growing and maturing! Don’t be afraid of change even if it is a little confusing – like plaid!!!
2. Notice and embrace the change in others! Avoid digging up dirt on people and judge them on their past or even present behaviors, beliefs or ethics. Stop rehashing things from the past. Let others make changes too. Let people grow. We like to watch recordings of junk someone said or did 10 years, 5 years or even 6 months ago and revel in their ineptitudes. We like to say I told you so or catch someone in failure. Remember, these people are growing and changing just like you! LET OTHERS GROW AND CHANGE! Stop being so critical of other people’s past!
Staying with the Happy Days theme check out this video about how people grow and change… with Tom Hanks!
3. Upgrade people and downgrade agenda pushing. Embrace people and stop criticising their behaviors and beliefs! People are worth far more than whatever you agree or disagree with them about. Stop puking your opinions on everyone with whom you do not agree! Take a look and notice the only ones listening are those who agree with you!
4. Approval and acceptance are not equal. We can treat people with respect and not hold the same values or opinions. Do not equate approving of someone’s opinions with accepting them as a person. Opinions, values and personal ethics are not the same as the act of loving or caring for another person. Parents know this! Parents love their kids even if they don’t agree with their choices or ideas.
Let us return to a higher level of relationship.
Let us focus on human value and care for one another.
Let us affirm one another.