Against Being Agreeable

by Carrinicole

On Independence Day—24 hours after we can watch Hamilton at home— I’m meditating on my favorite line: “If you stand for nothing Burr, what will you fall for?”

I see parallels in this statement with a book I’m reading. Thomas Merton says to be weary of having “the vapid and careless friendliness that accepts everything and thinks about nothing.”

I think we, especially as women, are conditioned to treat this regard as a skill vs. a weakness. Be courteous, pleasant, agreeable. Don’t be controversial, don’t argue ideas someone may disagree with. Don’t disrupt the dinner party.

When I think of this now, I hear, don’t have a voice, don’t be individual. Blend in. I’ve learned that it serves neither ourselves, nor our circle to be this way. You are hiding yourself from others, and you are also robbing yourself of the potential to connect.

Sure, an argument may ensue… but what if it doesn’t? What if you have a meaningful conversation with someone who agrees with you and pushes you to further develop your opinion? What if someone disagrees with you, and you both walk away learning a little bit more about the other?

I fear if we become agreeable for too long, we stop thinking for ourselves altogether. We as a nation were founded in fearlessness — whether it was the first settlers or the Founding Fathers. We can see the momentum we can have as a nation when we are brave within a collective movement.

Its hard, and I get scared, but I’m working on being brave and bringing my authentic self with me everywhere I go. I hope this post will encourage you to do the same.

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