When did who we are become a one-size-fits-all range? Because the last time I checked, that just isn’t true, possible or interesting. You can look anywhere and find an article or a Blog or a story about how women are being alienated by other women. Sometimes we call it “mommy shaming.” We see women judging one another based on how we feed our children: breast or bottle? Organic or processed? And if we breastfeed, sometimes we’re applauded for doing it in public and other times we are chastised. We are judged for having careers and judged if we stay home to raise our children. We are judged by how we dress our children, what extracurriculars we put them in, how late they stay up at night…the list goes on and on.
And it’s not just mothering. If we dare to say we don’t want children then people can’t seem to wrap their heads around that in any way. We hear things like, “You’ll change your mind when you’re older.” “But you’d make a wonderful mother!” or “We want grandchildren!”
Anywhere you look you’ll see the arguments on both sides of all of these topics and many, many more. These subjects have been debated up and down and in and out and all throughout time. I’m going to spare you the lecture on why it’s ridiculous to assume that you know everything about everything and instead discuss something from an entirely different angle. Here it is. Have you ever considered, for even a moment, how your judgements and opinions make people feel? And I’m not talking about strangers on the internet, but the people you love. Have you?
Here’s the thing. If you are adamant in your opinions and your ideas, if you are positive that you are right, please realize what that does to the people around you. And what kind of a person that makes you. If you don’t open yourself up to the idea that you aren’t right about everything and that different situations call for different measures, and that life’s experiences cannot all always be handled exactly the same way every time for every person, then you are doing something horrible to the people you care about. You’re telling them that regardless of their situation, you will be unsympathetic and not someone they can come to in a time of need or count on for advice, comfort, guidance or understanding.
I can tell you this as a fact because I used to be that person in some ways. Here’s an example. I had a friend many years ago who began dating a guy. I didn’t know this person but did know some of his friends and had heard some rumors about them and, in turn, him. I told her she shouldn’t be dating him. I was afraid he was going to hurt her. I believed she was making a mistake. I told her how I felt and that I didn’t approve and that I was sure she was making a mistake. Guess what? They’ve been together ever since and are blissfully happy. I love him like family and he is a wonderful, loving, incredible person. So not unlike the women I am referring to here, I was closed off to the idea that I could be wrong. I was sure that I knew everything. But I was wrong. Luckily it didn’t take me all this time to realize it. Not long after they started dating she started to talk to me about him and I realized what an ass I had been. I immediately apologized, asked for her forgiveness and promised to support her no matter what. Because guess what, ladies? We have to be there for each other.
We have to realize that our choices and ideas and ideals don’t have to be the same for every person in the world. Because life is imperfect and so are we. Because loving someone means supporting them and helping them and providing those incredible things that friendship and family and community offer. And if you want to be a truly good person, someone who loves and makes the world a better place and who contributes to the happiness of others, then you will take this advice. None of us are perfect or always right. But we can be the perfect friend, wife, sister, daughter, neighbor, or any other role, if we just decide to let kindness and compassion override our need to be right. And that’s when the most incredible things come in and change who we are, because that’s how we learn and grow. And that’s how we can find true happiness.
Here’s a picture of me and my littlest mister, Bennett – whom we allow to stay up too late 😘