Variety is the Spice of Life

Why do we judge each other?

More and more lately, I’ve seen a few things pop up via blogs, social media, elsewhere, and it basically boils down to “what’s with all the judgement?”

Marrieds vs. singles, stay-at-home vs. work, breast feed vs. formula, organic vs. not organic vs. vegan vs. clean eats vs. processed food, fitfluential vs. fatfluential, healthy living blogs vs. GOMI, urban vs. rural, right vs. left, religious vs. atheist, serious runners vs. fun runners, etc etc etc … what’s with the judgement?

(I’m not saying everyone who falls under those labels [which is … everyone] is judgemental, I’m just illustrating that it happens everywhere … where there are choices to be made, there are judgements to be had.)

I’ve spent a lot of time (my entire life) around someone who is quite opinionated, and never shies away from sharing those opinions. Whether or not is is appropriate for the opinion to be shared, or welcome to be heard.

I learned early on how detrimental this can be to your personal relationships. So from that framework, I do my best to not judge. Anyone. Friends, enemies, strangers, celebrities. There is more to the story behind every choice you see someone making.

You know what not judging allowed me to? Learn. So much. Now when I see a differing choice, I don’t see a threat to the validity of my own choices (which I think is the basis of outward judgement – insecurity and then defensiveness).

Instead, I see a learning opportunity. Hey! This person is different from me! Cool! Let’s learn from each other.

There will always be someone making a different choice than me. And that’s what makes the world such an interesting place. The fact that there are so many different choices to be made, we can each create a life that is uniquely our own. My life is perfect for me. And your life is perfect for you. Isn’t it amazing that we’re free to create our lives that way?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all took the time to learn about each other’s differences instead of trying to tear them down, just because they’re different?

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Every post needs a picture, so here is something really different … a surfboard in Chicago. Maybe they just moved here and realized winter never ends. Or maybe it’s a paddleboard. Either way … it was deemed useless in this frozen city. 

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17 Comments on “Variety is the Spice of Life”

  1. This is the same point I was trying to get across in the post I wrote with the same title, the one I quoted you in (http://www.ilaxstudio.com/blog/2014/01/28/variety-is-the-spice-of-life/). So yeah. I have the same mindset as you.

    I really DON’T get it when it is about someone’s interests. Most recently, this has come to mind with this basketball thing… March Madness. I know nothing about it, don’t fill out a bracket, but i asked some people who are in to it questions and thought it was interesting to learn about! Then I used that info to have a conversation with my BiL. See?! We can be polite and ask about each other’s hobbies even when we don’t share them. Geesh, people!

    And the label wars. Gah. I have recently gotten flack because people want me to act a certain way because I choose to eat vegan. Um, nope! That’s just a label I use to clarify my choices to others. I don’t identify much with the stereotype of the label, so quite associating me with it. kthxbai 😉

    1. I was thinking about your post when I started writing this, didn’t realize I used the same title 🙂 Don’t sue me!

      Another thing that bugs me (I started writing a post about it, maybe someday I’ll publish it) is when people say “I could never to that” in response to something I’ve done. I know they’re just making conversation, but something about it rubs me the wrong way. Not just that it could sound judgemental (usually when I hear it, I don’t think it is) but it sounds so limiting. Which makes me sad. Of course I have probably said that exact phrase in response to skydiving.

      1. Ha! No, I was like, what did I write in my post… then looked at it and it was the same title! Ha ha ha! Great minds…

        Now you will have to catch yourself if you DO say that. It’s just… not a nice response. It comes off as a way of saying I would NEVER do that, when what they mean is, I have no interest in doing that. And just like you want to talk about the things you do and have them be respected. It happens a lot about exercise though. How about “I only run when being chased by bears?” derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp

      2. “I could never do that” drives me nuts sometimes! Just like Kim, I often hear it as “I would NEVER do that,” though that may not always be the intent. An example of that sounding judgmental is a response I often hear with regards to my working from home: “Oh I could never do that, I’d never get any work done!” And I know this is probably true for a lot of people, but I DO get a lot of work done at home. Obviously I wouldn’t be allowed to do it all the time if I didn’t.

        I remember reading something somewhere about how grating it is for some runners to hear things like “wow, I can’t even run a block!” in response to their having run a race or something like that. I don’t know that it’s annoying, but to your point, it’s so sad that people feel so limited sometimes. I mean… have you tried to run a block? Because if both of your legs work, you most likely could. Especially if a bear was chasing you, *snort*

        Also, my comment about this to Kim’s post:
        This kind of reminds me of our conversation last week where I was saying that a friend kind of sh*ts all over running when another friend and I talk about it in her presence. Like okay, we get it that YOU don’t run, and we’re not trying to talk you into running, but we might actually enjoy it.

  2. I’ll admit that sometimes I do judge friends’ choices, but not in terms of “My choices are better” or feeling threatened about my choice, but legitimately wondering if they’re happy with whatever life decision they’ve made/is the choice they made really the best thing for them/is that a healthy choice? Hmm. That probably still sounds judgmental (who am I to say what should make someone happy?), even if it’s coming from a place of concern. Aside from that, as long as people are happy with their choices, I will happily support them.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with having opinions or concerns. We all have them. And if it is about a friend, if you have the relationship to do so, it’s good to talk to the friend from a place of compassion, and try to help rather than tear them down. I think the problem happens when someone vocalizes their opinions as if they are the authority on the matter. Ultimiately, are they sharing their opinions to help or to hurt?

      1. I think that’s where it gets tricky, because having that conversation still usually comes off as being a little judgy. I’ve been on both sides of that before. I totally resented friends for thinking I was dating an asshole back in the day, until I realized that I was, indeed, dating an asshole. But it’s hard to take that as genuine concern when you can’t see it, you know?

        1. Oh yeah, I’ve been in that situation before. On both sides. Now when it comes to someone dating/marrying a perceived asshole, I just keep my mouth shut. Sometimes that person realizes it on their own and the relationship ends. Sometimes the “asshole” changes and is no longer an asshole. Sometimes the whole situation was a misunderstanding and we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe all we can do is say “I love you and I’m here for you and I just want you to be happy” and leave it at that.

          1. Yep, basically. Which is what makes me feel like I’m judging, since no one but the people in a relationship know what it’s really like.

          2. For the record, I did not always have this attitude and definitely had my judgey moments in the past. Not too proud of those.

          3. Gahhh! I’m going through this right now with a friend and had to chime in. One of my best friends from high school is getting married over Memorial Day to a guy who broke her heart two years ago and then they got back together. I try to see the best in people but I’m worried. She used to be the most independent woman ever and now cannot form an opinion. She’s also moving from her dream job to a middle of no where town in Texas. It’s tough to sit by but as her friends my friends and I have decided to show up, shut up and be there for our friend. Still gives me a knot in my stomach though.

  3. Life too short for me to get all fired up about the Internet. And also, it’s the Internet. No one is exactly as they seem. I’m not blogging about all the stupid shit I get myself into or every banal detail of my existence, and I’m sure other people aren’t, either. A blog post is just a sliver into your psyche. Not even a portion of it.

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