In Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, the main character himself (Prince Hamlet) opened one of his many soliloquies with the famous line, “To be, or not to be – that is the question.” Now Hamlet was talking about suicide in his monologue but never mind that. Instead, I want to stress the importance that asking yourself a single question can make.
In life, I wish I would’ve questioned myself more often. It would’ve kept me from a lot of unnecessary stuff like making poor decisions, buying things I didn’t really need, hanging with the wrong kind of people, telling the wrong people private information, staying in an unhealthy relationship too long and the list goes on.
We’ve all had questionable moments in life, yes even you, but there are some moments that we have involving other people that can be completely avoided.
With social media being completely ingrained into our lives one way or the other, we have the opportunity to be privy to information that we normally wouldn’t, especially if we’re connected to folks we don’t actually interact with in real life.
(Makes mental note to finish cleaning up my friends list.)
We get to see people living their daily lives, cooking new recipes, celebrating their kids’ first day of school, retirement party candids and so on. If a person likes to share a lot of things, (because it is their prerogative since it’s their page ya know) we may even get to see more private stuff like post-engagement pics and babies fresh out of the womb.
Because of this we tend to feel we have a right to speak on a person’s life – whether indirectly, directly, in public or privately among our circles. When in actuality, we don’t and we should see the ability to do so as a privilege, not a free-for-all to be shady.
Regardless of that, we still insert ourselves into their lives because we’re human and we make excuses about how what they post is public when it shouldn’t be and whatever else we tell ourselves to justify being in someone else’s business. What we don’t realize though is that our concern with their musings and our need to make assumptions based off what we see or think says more about us than it does the person we’re directing it towards.
Nerve hitting moment, I know.
I’m guilty of this sometimes. I make judgements about people or criticize their posts when I shouldn’t even give it any thought. A person can post whatever they want, whenever and however they want because that’s what Facebook and other social networks were made for. Unfortunately that goes for the ignorant posts that we don’t agree with like the one I’m about to mention – but this article addresses that too.
I saw someone share a post about baby showers being lavish because there wouldn’t be a wedding between the parents on Facebook not too long ago and it made me cringe. At first I thought maybe I’m sensitive because I’m pregnant and my hormones are on 100 but nah. I just have common sense.
My confused disposition was mostly because the person who posted it doesn’t have a husband or a child so I couldn’t understand why they would care enough to make such an ignorant post. (My Twitter followers agreed, so it was confirmed that it’s not because of my hormones LOL.)
It made me ask myself a question and it was then that the epiphany came.
Before I pose the question to you, let me make it clear that there is absolutely no pettiness here, I’m genuinely trying to help you out. This question will help you minimize your need to concern yourself with the lives of others, be sure that you are not inserting yourself in something that has nothing to do with you and lower your levels of stress, anxiety, annoyance, irritation, anger, misery, jealousy, confusion and so on.
I’m positive that if you ask yourself this question before you begin to make a statement, start a sidebar conversation, initiate gossip or mind someone else’s business (whether it is public information or not – still no excuse) you’ll be much better off and actually be “unbothered.”
Why do I care so much?
THAT is the question.
Let me begin with myself, because I don’t exclude myself from being corrected. I cared about the post that was circulating because it wasn’t made out of love. It was from a place of shade, misery, jealousy, being discontent with their own life or whatever. Why do I believe that? Because speaking on something so special as two people and their families welcoming a baby into their world and criticizing the way they choose to do it is nothing but hate. Again, why would you care? Do you have any inside information on their relationship? Do you go to bed with them every night to know the future plans they discuss among one another? If so, which I can 100% doubt, what gives you the authority to speak on their life when you have your own to worry with?
You can apply this question to anything in life.
Before you get angry, irritated or bothered by something so much so that you want to make a public declaration about it, ask yourself: why do I even care? What is going on with me to make me feel this way? Self-checks are the best and we don’t have to make announcements about them. We just need to do them and grow from whatever it shed light on.
I see so much about how we should love one another, uplift each other and represent our faith. But what does any of that mean if we don’t practice it?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that when you love someone you would purposely and knowingly make comments or say things about them that would put them down or hurt them. You wouldn’t take shots at them and then smile in their faces. You wouldn’t gossip about them or dig for information. You would either help (but you should wait to be asked or offer it before trying to) or leave it alone if you aren’t genuine about it. You would also know your place and what you can and cannot speak on in someone else’s life.
And if you don’t love them enough to do those things, then that’s another story.
When I asked myself why I cared about that post, it’s obviously because I’m pregnant and so many women I know are either currently pregnant or just had babies. Preparing for a child is hard work and if you have never done it you literally don’t know how stupid you sound to think a baby shower is the highlight of the whole process.
Also, I’m just sick of seeing people be so critical without offering solutions that don’t come from a petty or judgmental place. I’m sick of the fake smiles and banter, the secret hate and everything else we do to keep tension rising. I’m sick of people not taking care of their own home or issues but having so much to say about everyone else. I’m just over it.
That’s why I care.
But I’m super smart and I know that I cannot change anyone and neither can you – only God can do that. So to remedy the situation and my own personal feelings toward things, I remove them. (Code for delete.)
Removing things or people who represent things that you don’t agree with, whether in real life or your online life, solves part of the issue of not being able to mind your own business. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing. However that alone won’t completely solve it.
We have to get about being the best version of ourselves we can be and when we’re completely focused on that, we don’t have room to gauge where someone else is falling short. Or where we think they’re falling short because again, you don’t really know – you’re making another assumption.