One of my closest friends lives in Tennessee and I frequently find myself engaged in long phone conversations with her. Though we usually start off attempting to catch up on the happenings of day to day life our conversations quickly shift to our theories on life, gender roles, psychology, etc. I love friendships that make it more interesting to talk about ideas and theories than pop culture and gossip about other people. Real and meaningful conversations are (to me) the tell tale signs of a true friendship.
As I described a situation in my own life that seemingly offered two courses of action (a fork in the road so to speak) I was disheartened as both courses appeared less than ideal. From an outside perspective both choices looked like bad choices, they were just bad in different ways! Though I hadn’t made a decision regarding my course of action yet, I found myself already irritated for the judgement I knew I would receive from friends and family members.
“How can they judge me for this choice?!” I thought angrily to myself. “They have no right to say what I’m doing is wrong, what would they do in this situation? My other option is bad too!” Of course my premature outrage was a bit ridiculous but the sentiment remains true. I am doing the best that I can! & I’ve realized most other people are too.
The conversation really got me thinking about how quick we are to judge the lives of others. We look at those around us and look down upon their situations without really understanding the choices (and more importantly circumstances) that led them there. A drug addict may have an issue because they just decided on a whim one day to take up meth but it’s more likely that there was a long series of circumstances and choices that led to the individual’s current situation. I, of course, advocate for individual accountability and personal responsibility but I do think it is important to consider that every person has a back story. Like a tree whose roots branch out deeply in every direction underground, a person’s life is rarely fully available for accurate depiction to outsiders.
When people make “bad choices” is it always a choice between right and wrong (bad and good)? Or is often the case that individuals are presented with two options that both offer their own sets of pros and cons? I don’t believe most people set out with the intention to make stupid decisions but rather believe they are the best option given the circumstance. There are exceptions obviously but the vast majority of people are doing the best we can. Life doesn’t always offer us the luxury of choosing between “good” and “evil” but rather presents us with “option 1” and “option 2”. Options aren’t usually inherently good nor inherently bad but rather a compilation of good and bad.
Have you had any mid week epiphanies?
I hope you’re having a happy Wednesday!