We could all write down our own version of Maria’s raindrops on roses list of favorite things. And for the most part, when it comes to preferences—chocolate v. vanilla; Marvel v. DC; winter v. summer—we’re mostly indulgent of others’ varying likes and dislikes.
But when it comes to the big life choices or dietary choices, whether to have children, what profession to pursue, whom to love, where to live (I’m not even touching politics!), we are far less indulgent. Because, as Ann Patchett explores in her recent essay, There are no Children Here, we interpret different choices as criticisms of our choices. If I don’t eat meat, then secretly I must be thinking, oh you horrible, horrible, evil meat eaters!
Why can’t we live and let live? Why can’t we exist in a space where some women choose to have children and others don’t? Where some drink and others don’t? Where vegans can eat alongside steak eaters?
My internal compass should have nothing to do with you; and yours should have nothing to do with me. And if you are offended by my desire not to drink alcohol or you think that my desire to put my Ph.D. to use at home with my kids was a waste of my education, then I am sorry for you.
I am tired of the judgers. Really tired. But before I get all high and mighty, I need to check myself, make sure I am not judging. Not myself. And not others. But honestly, I find, the most insecure people are usually the biggest judgers…so maybe it’s time to reign in all that energy and focus on our own internal compass. On our favorite things. On our preferences and beliefs. And stand on our own two feet.
And the judgers? Well…bless them, but their opinion doesn’t really count.