I was having a discussion with DarkJester on Tuesday at the TMG Tuesday Topical about Stoicism and Epicureanism, and he brought up a quote:
If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you? – Epictetus
We talk a lot about consent regarding our physical forms. Over and over, ad nauseum. Nary a week goes by that something is written about consent and potential violation of our physical bodies.
But, really, as carefully as we protect our physical selves, many people spend our mental consent like sailors on leave, allowing even complete strangers to affect our thoughts, feelings, and peace of mind without so much as a word of negotiation.
- When someone insults or bullies us, and we allow it to affect us.
- When a stranger judges us or uses the wrong label(s) and we get upset. .
- When a friend says something hurtful, and we are hurt.
The real crime here, is one that we commit against ourselves.
When we consent without even a single thought to allow others to control how we think, how we feel, how we act, what is right or wrong…
THAT is when we have given up.
I do NOT give you consent to touch my mind…
Until we have negotiated.
Until you have earned my trust.
Until you have shown me that you respect me for who I am as a person.
Until you have made it clear beyond a reasonable doubt that you love me for who I am, flawed beyond imagining, and not for some construct you hope me to be.
Until we have created a bond of mutual consent, love and respect.