I have been chewing on a particular phenomenon this year where we, as humans, choose a way of life and then claim a label as an identifier for who we are. For me, a couple of my current labels I claim are: I am a writer and artist. At one time, I claimed to be a raw foodist. Growing up, I claimed to be Mormon. And, of course, there are many, many other labels I could probably claim.
I suppose labels are useful in that they give us a screenshot of what we can expect a person’s values to be and I’m not suggesting here that we should discard them.
What I struggle with is when someone makes a life choice that works for them and then that person decides that the way they live is the best way and that everyone should follow suit. And so, they begin to try to convince others that they should be like them and make the same choices that they do.
I can see in these circumstances that the intent is generally to do good. Most times these people are sharing things that helped them find happiness and they want that for others and I think that intent is awesome. What is uncomfortable and not the best ever is when I see someone sharing something that obviously does not resonate with the other person and instead of getting that and moving on, the label-person pushes the issue, certain that he/she can cause the other person to see that they are right.
And I guess I can kinda get that. There have certainly been times when I thought I had things figured out (ha-ha!). Now I have to consider that maybe there is no right, or at least no ONE right (except maybe showing love to one another).
People get to similar places in life from completely different paths. I think that is the coolest part of our existence. Different ways of thinking and varied lifestyles also seem to be our best tools for evolution.
So, I am going to be on the lookout next year for the places that I have grown self-righteous (that is really what this post is about, anyway) because I feel that is a huge limiting factor to creativity. I don’t think that means I or anyone else has to give up the personal guidelines (or labels) we have selected for supporting the life we wish to have, but I think it does mean that we have to trust that other people will find their way, even through what we might perceive as a wrong path or wasting time, to their eventual best life.
Note from Sheila Lee Brown: I feel that the best way people connect and learn are through each other’s stories. I share what I share because this is part of my story and I hope it contains some usefulness for others. I would love to see your comments on this topic – your successes or failures – so that I can learn from you as well.