The Company We Keep

“The company we keep”: Another gem from the past, an idiom rarely heard now because it is generally believed to be rude. Originally, this saying was meant to dismiss or degrade us, or judge us by the people we befriended or ran with, as another saying goes. However, our friends (or the company we keep), or whoever we hang out with, should never be used to define or judge us- should they?

Where does judgement come from?

Well, your answer may vary, but I say no. I say no for a lot of reasons, that you may or may not agree with, and besides- what’s with this judgement stuff anyway?! We are all guilty of judging from time to time, and we don’t need to be so surprised that others do the same. That being said, there is judgement. and then there is judgement made at the drop of a hat over the silliest of things, or based on lack of empathy or simple understanding, or at its worst, malice.

The company I keep

In my life, I have kept company or hung out with all sorts of people, and I still do. I enjoy the company of some people who would be considered by some to be the “lowest in society,” and with some level of pride, I can relate to where they are, and how they developed their perspective on life and living. “Been there done that”, as they say.

I have been fortunate to spend time with some brilliant people from all walks of life, rich and poor, and all the shades between. Wealth in monetary terms has never impressed me as a measure of success, and I know in our society it often is, but never does it mean more than what it is: money and power. In my view, riches are best measured in other ways.

Opening the door

In my opinion, it’s not a bad thing to keep company/spend time with people with whom we have things in common. It is just the way people act and live. All of us seek out people, or prefer to spend our time with those people, with similar views, values, and interests. It’s all quite normal, but I challenge us all to look outside the norm and open our door, to other opinions and backgrounds and views. Why, you ask?

One huge benefit of being open to different views is context. Being able to understand how people developed different visions of the world around them and their place in it can be helpful to us all, mainly in how we perceive the world around us as individuals, or collectively as a group. Please open the door to opposing views, or those ideas that do not conform to the norms we hold so dear and rigidly. You may find it difficult, and I know I do at times, but listening is a developed skill, especially in an age of instant and short bursts of information, which is constantly bombarding us.

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