Stop moralizing me.
It was flung as an accusation. Yes, at me.
It didn’t seem like too deep of a conversation. And it didn’t at all seem confrontational to me—from either person. It was a chat. I expressed my perspective in about five words, and that’s all it took.
The accusation caught me off guard. I didn’t argue. It wasn’t the right situation. No one was going to win by sliding into an argument about my motivation. I decided it was more productive to slowly shift. But it stuck with me, and throughout the remaining conversation, I heard many phrases and declarations that could have been declared as “moralizing.”
Don’t we all? I mean, as we claim something—not preach, dictate, or pound into someone—we assign value. We speak what we believe to be true. Yes, sometimes we project onto others and we can sound harsh and judgmental, but most of the time, I think we can respectfully share, reflect, and question but also be viewed as moralizing. We can get defensive when we think others are moralizing us.
What if we listened better? What if we spoke truth with gentleness and respect? Even then, we might be misunderstood, like I was that day. But it didn’t wreck the conversation or the relationship.
In fact, it challenged me. It made me want to get better in how I communicate.
We all moralize, and each of us is convinced we’re right. We don’t want others to project their morals on us, but we can talk about our values (and listen) while respecting each other. In the process, we will grow—together.