Taking people seriously

...is just another name for unforgiveness.

I've always been taught that it's important to take people seriously. That not taking people seriously is unkind/rude/disrespectful. I never questioned it until now.

Last night I was talking to my Course and Culture buddy Ally, and ranting and complaining about some problem. Was it that I'd drunk all the tea in my mug? or that my kitchen was a mess? Anyway, she was unconcerned and just carried on telling me about her experience that day, and I noticed how much I appreciated her for not taking my problems seriously. When people make a big deal out of my problems, they have misunderstood. And then I thought about how seriously I take other people when they talk about their misery story.

Taking people seriously is what I'd call a "hard" and "sharp" note on the piano of forgiveness. When something is taken seriously, it is perceived as real and solid. That's how you know it's unforgiven.

So now, in my quest for new 'piano keys' to hit, I look for people I take seriously. And there are so many, to varying degrees of intensity.

Part of the bind is that most people want to be taken seriously. Of course they do! The ego is constantly looking for other egos to affirm its existence. It's in the unspoken social contract: "if you take me seriously, I'll take you seriously". To not take someone seriously feels like throwing down a gauntlet. I'm expecting upset/outrage from some.

I've taken everyone seriously my entire life. I see another way now, but I am far from it. I feel the distance. I am climbing. I have found myself unkind[1].

And it's not just people I take seriously. I'm looking at the shelves my clothes are on, noticing how seriously I take them.

I feel a slight loosening.

I take others far more seriously than I take myself. Why is that?


Not taking people seriously doesn't mean not trusting them to report their experiences/sensory data accurately.

We can accept someone's testimony without judging it.

  1. to myself as well as others, as all unkindness is ↩︎

Freyr LePage

autistic, nonbinary, white, middle class

United Kingdom