“You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on”~ Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books/movies. It’s so romantic. I love that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy realized how their own prejudices as well as pride kept them apart. They both quickly judged the other without putting any effort into the relationship. Whenever we form an opinion without adequate knowledge, experience or reason, we are headed for trouble. Happily, circumstances threw them together in many ways. They turned out to be so perfect for each other. But they needed to improve their characters, even though they were basically both good people.
Do you ever wonder what would have happened if neither Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth had given in to these pre-judgment weaknesses? They probably would have gotten together much sooner, but then, the book would have been shorter. We enjoyed going through the learning experience with them and improving our own self awareness.
Part of what they came to love about each other was discovering their noble characters. We saw this in his service to her and her family. Then she, in turn, served him by helping to repair his image with her family. Thank goodness they were open to learning about each other, despite their original animosity.
Our feminine nature can help us avoid forming unfair opinions of others. We are more interested in relationships and it’s easier for us to be humble and want to help. Successfully eliminating these unmerited judgments will make us more of the fascinating women we want to be.
We all know it’s an advantage not to be prejudiced or proud. The antidote is actually quite simple. The secret was mentioned above. It’s service. We love those we serve. It’s one reason we love our children so much. We serve them from the moment they are born. We don’t even get a smile from them in return until they are about 4 weeks old. But we love them to distraction. Another root of prejudice and pride is almost always a lack of understanding and empathy for another person or group of people. This can be handled through experiencing loving service.
Find some way to help someone or a group of people you find yourself feeling a bit prejudiced toward. You’ll be amazed. We all know that the women who say “Men are all bums” aren’t speaking of men you and I know. And it’s not fair to lump all bad behavior into one bag. Likewise, to say all people of a particular race, religion or whatever are lazy, stupid or criminal is not reasonable.
If you actually got to know any particular person deeply, while you might not agree with some of their attitudes or behaviors, you would at least have empathy for their perspective or even pain. You would understand how they got to where they are. In fact, you would grow to love them. It’s true. Love is at the core of being a fascinating woman. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t do it perfectly. You will be successful just by trying because you will improve.
Next time you are tempted to think unkindly of someone, try serving them. Invite them to dinner or make something for them like cookies, bread or soup with no strings attached. That means, if you don’t even get so much as a “thank you” you’re still okay. Find a way to serve them in some way and you might be surprised. You’ll feel less prejudiced towards them even if they don’t respond as you hoped.
“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts”~ E. B. White