Not a poem—just an observation (with an occasional vow)

I understand being afraid.
I understand being angry.
I understand being disappointed.
I understand wanting to scream at somebody who has done me wrong.
I understand wishing that someone who has done me wrong would suffer in the same way I have.

I don’t understand intentionally inflicting harm on another person.
I don’t understand intentionally inflicting harm on another person when that person is not doing anything to cause me harm.
I don’t understand intentionally inflicting harm on another person when that person is already clearly in distress.
I don’t understand continuing to inflict harm on another person when my actions have already caused them distress.
I don’t understand intentionally inflicting physical injury on another person for any reason that does not involve defending oneself from a direct, purposeful physical attack.

In the absence of a valid reason to do otherwise, I believe in treating everyone I meet with respect, regardless of my perceptions of their physical presence.
If I respond to the mere sight of someone with fear or apprehension, I examine my reasons for doing so, and remind myself that this person is no different than I am beyond the fact that they are not me.
I believe in being open to the possibility (or likelihood, if you prefer) that I may be wrong—and strive to admit that I am wrong when that is in fact the case.

I realize that I am not perfect. Accordingly, I do my best to remember that this is also true of everyone else I will ever encounter.
I strive to expect no more of my fellow human beings than I do of myself.

I will not blame someone else for what they have simply because they have it and I do not.
I will not deny someone else the opportunities that I have had but they have not previously had.
I will not disparage someone for being in the right place at the right time because I was not.
I will be appreciative for the good done to me by other people, regardless of their circumstances (or mine).

I will support my friends to the best of my ability.
I will not blame myself for those things that my lack of ability does not allow me to do.
I will do my best to express myself honestly and authentically.
I will be silent when my words will not add anything to the conversation.

I will try to be the best person I can be. That is all I can do. I expect no praise for this. Nor will I apologize for it. In the words of Popeye, ‘I yam what I yam.’

(9 July 2016)

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