I recall a controversial gay marriage issue some years ago involving a soldier named Tammy Smith and a woman named Ms. Lamb who was raising a 17 year old child. I do not remember the details. I am proud of these two brave women for taking a stand for what they believe in. They were trying to secure the same basic human rights enjoyed by every other American. I am not gay. I support these two women because I agree with their aim to promote equality.
I believe in giving a voice to those who cannot advocate for themselves. I worked for a public office (as a support worker) for over twenty years. Public defender attorneys are not very popular in our society because they defend the so-called “bad guys”. I believe that these legal professionals play an integral role in the judicial system. Without them, innocent people could be taken away in the middle of the night . . . never to be heard from again. It happens in other countries.
I also want to say that lasting change does not come from passing laws. People ignore the laws they do not like. If we wish to instill positive change in the minds of others, we need be mindful of how we behave in front of others. Actions speak louder than words. Our behavior makes an impression on others. Treat others how you wish to be treated. That is called the Golden Rule. If you treat others with disrespect, it is likely that your poor behavior will be reflected right back at you. This kind of behavior only reinforces negative beliefs and stereotypes. I am not talking about turning the other cheek. We all have right to defend ourselves. I believe there are right ways of doing things and then are other ways . . . some of which are not so productive. Knowing when to make a statement and how to carry it out is crucial. There is saying for this “Lead by positive example.”
I noticed that whenever a mentally ill person commits a terrible crime. The public focuses, not on the circumstances of the case, but rather on the mental illness. This kind of attention reinforces the belief that all mentally ill people are dangerous and need to be locked away. This kind of thinking has caused suffering too many, and not just to the mentally ill population.
It’s interesting to me that more and more people are taking Prozac type (SSRIs) medications in an effort to treat depression and anxiety. If you are taking medications for either one of these conditions – you have mental illness – as defined by the psychiatric community. These conditions have become more prevalent in our society (in the last few decades) because we harbor unresolved internal conflicts – over issues like gay and lesbian equality. We do not need to hate ourselves for being who we are. Nor is it necessary for us to allow others to create false beliefs in us. Trust me this is all a choice.
I support people like Ms. Smith and Ms. Lamb, not just because I agree with their aim to secure the same rights enjoyed by other Americans. I also see them as decent human beings worthy of my respect. I say this even though I do not know them. It’s important that we learn to accept and love people for who they are . . . as human beings. We need to allow to people to have their harmless beliefs and lifestyles without forcing our own beliefs on them. Until we learn that beliefs are nothing more than that, the world will continue experience significant pain and suffering in coming to terms with this reality.
If you are in pain, emotional or physical, I suggest you do a self-examination of your feelings and beliefs. Determine which beliefs are causing this pain and let go of them. You will not be free from this pain until you confront and eliminate your fears. The truth does hurt.