“If I do not want what you want,
Please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.
Or if I believe other than you,
at least pause before you correct my view.
Or if my emotion is less than yours,
or more, given the same circumstances,
try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.
Or yet if I act, or fail to act,
in the manner of your design for action, let me be.
I do not, for the moment at least,
ask you to understand me.
That will come only when you are willing
to give up changing me into a copy of you.
I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring,
your friend, or your colleague.
If you allow me any of my own wants,
or beliefs, or actions, then you open your-self
so that someday these wants of mine
might not seem so wrong,
and might finally appear to you as right – for me.
To put up with me is the first step in understanding me.
Not that you are no longer irritated or disappointed
with me for my seeming waywardness.
And in understanding me you might come to prize
my differences from you, and far from seeking to change me,
preserve and even nurture those differences.”
|Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
by Nelson Mandela