It is fascinating to see how quickly (and harshly) some people will condemn others for behaving or even looking a way they consider inappropriate. Judgment and condemnation are, admittedly, effective tools for manipulation. Often, we think up the harshest possible criticisms in order to ensure that our partners, children, friends and loved ones feel bad or shameful enough to do whatever we want them to do. But while this may be a powerful tool for coercion; it is not the behavior of a Powerful Person. You often get far better results by just backing off and letting a person come to his/her own conclusions, in their own time.
A few months ago, a woman who belongs to the same Facebook forum as me asked the group:
Why, why, why do our young men and boys think it’s okay—never mind cool—to walk around with their pants sagging and underwear showing? Whatever happened to self-respect and taking pride in your appearance? It’s even more disturbing because this is a trend that has reached Africa and I remember seeing a young man in Senegal wearing sagging pants. When we told him what it meant, he hiked them up very quickly. And then you have the GROWN men walking around like this? Seriously, what do you all think about this trend and what should be done to counter it? Or should we even care?
I often see young men (and some young ladies) wearing the tops of their pants slightly above their knees. It looks comical. I can’t imagine the discomfort of walking around with one hand holding your belt-line so your pants don’t fall all the way to the ground. The irony is I wore my pants in a similar fashion 20 years ago. They didn’t make it all the way down to my knees, but they certainly were not on my waist either. I guess I could point a finger and say “I didn’t wear mine as low as you wear your’s, so I have more self-respect,” but I prefer to relate to their experience instead of acting separate from it.
And funny enough, I outgrew my sagging-pants all by myself (kind of). I also had what was (and maybe still is) known as a high-top fade. My mother hated it and threatened to kick me out if I didn’t get a different haircut. We battled incessantly about it, but I stood my ground. I did eventually cut it – but it was in my own time. Mom and I both got what we wanted … in the long run.
So, to answer the Facebook question above (“What do you all think about this trend and what should be done to counter it?”) – I say, let’s do nothing. Let’s accept our children as they experiment and work to define themselves as a new generation with its own unique manner of expression (even if their unique trends are recycled). And I seriously doubt that most young people living a life of saggy pants will maintain that style indefinitely. If we sit back and leave the experiment to the experimenters, things will work out … however that may look.
The same can be said of things our mates do that we do not like. They (and we) all have our God-given curiosity and desire to try new things or step outside our comfort zones. And I think it is healthy to explore – whether that means leaving a job when the future seems uncertain, following a risky new career course, buying a sports car or taking up a new hobby. Instead of calling your mate “selfish” or “untrustworthy” when he/she does something you don’t like, consider just accepting the decision for what it is and letting it ride. In time, your mate might come to the same conclusion as you, and at the very least, won’t resent you for the way you dealt with it.
And it may be reciprocal, however you choose to deal with the situation. In the future, you may very well find yourself on the other end of similar accusations of selfishness or whatever. Would you prefer the love or the lash? I suggest, instead of condemnation, try compassion. It’s a great tool to have on hand for your journey towards being a Powerful Person in a Partnership.
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