Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's a Lifestyle Choice

I've been making this real, honest effort to not pass judgement on so many people. I have never considered myself to be a judgmental person. In fact, quite the opposite: I've always considered myself pretty open minded and accepting of other people, and for the most part I think that's true. But I also feel like there are so many times when we pass judgement without even thinking about it or realizing we're doing it.

I'm pretty active on some internet forums, and some I just lurk. They can be vicious. And really, it's quite petty. But that's what got me thinking, about who the heck CARES to argue about things so insignificant?! People judge on what one decides to feed their pets. (yeah, guilty as charged, but not anymore!!) People judge on where people opt to give birth. People judge on where someone chooses to live. People judge on what religion someone is, or how often they go to church. People judge on what someone weighs, or what kind of clothes they wear. What in the heck difference does this make in the big picture? None.

The thing is, sometimes it bothers me to see people make decisions out of ignorance. But, what bothers me more, is when people assume that someone is ignorant simply because they don't agree. Guess what folks, it is entirely possible for two educated individuals to come to different conclusions on a hot topic, and neither one is right or wrong!

I think what I have learned most about myself, in this whole effort to not judge others,  is how much on a daily basis I worry about what people might think of me, and how that worry effects my life on a day to day basis. Not anymore. Judgement breeds insecurity, and insecurity breeds hard feelings and hard feelings breed misery. Not exactly a chain reaction anyone wants in on, is it?

So, here I am. Think what you want. Reality is, we all belong to groups of people that have some kind of ignorant stereotypes associated to them. Here's some of mine.

I live in UTAH.
Yeah, Utah. You know, where all the crazy Mormons. I may have at some point laughed along with you or ranted about how awful this place is because I know what people think of it; how people judge it. But, truth is, I LOVE this place. It's beautiful. I love the community. I love the atmosphere. I love the seasons. I love the terrain. And you know, I just so happen to be one of those crazy Mormons myself.

No, that doesn't mean my husband has a bunch of wives, or that I'm holier-than-thou, or that i believe in magic. I may have at some point said "yeah, I'm mormon, but a lot of people don't know that!" in some lame attempt to not sound nuts. But you know, I hope everyone that knows me DOES know it... because I'm proud of it. It's part of me. It means that I have a religion that I believe in, and it makes no difference to be if you do or not!

I have SIX DOGS.
Yeah, I have six canines. They live in my house, and I love them dearly. You might think that's too many, you might even think it's impossible to care for that many. But, guess what? It's the decision we made for ourselves, and they ARE well cared for. Will we ever get another? Oh, I'm sure eventually. And I'm sure people will once again whisper, and share opinions about how irresponsible we are, or that our animals take over our lives, or something else that's really no one's business. But, at the end of the day: I no longer care.

I don't even want a "large" family. Jon and I want two or three kids. But even so, I don't at all understand why having a large family is so looked down on. Like anyone has any place to decide how many children someone should have. I really detest the idea that having kids somehow ruins your life, or makes it less fulfilling. If YOU have chosen not to have kids because YOU don't want them, more power to you, but that doesn't mean that I must agree. And I don't.

Which means I am an unfit animal owner who must be burned at the stake, right?! Ugh. Whatever you want to think. I can not even begin to tell you the crap I've gotten any time I've decided to re home a pet, but you know what, I do what is best for my animals, and my husband and I make our decisions together, and to heck with everyone else! Not one animal I have ever owned is currently miserable. So, there.

These are just some of the things that I have been insecure about MYSELF over, because of what other people might think. This list could be a mile long if I really sat here and dished out everything. My point is, i think we could ALL make an honest effort to not pass judgement so quickly on other people, even if we might think we know everything. Next time you judge someone, consider that you are wrong. Consider that perhaps that very thing you are judging is the exact lifestyle choice that brings that person joy and meaning.

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