So I recently had a conversation in which the other conversator offered a few suggestions for my life. I was pretty amused at the time, partly because the other conversator really doesn’t know me all that well and the wildly different ideas that we have of what constitutes happiness and success and normality in general were quite apparent in the suggestions. I came away from that conversation thinking about how funny it is when other people think they know what’s best for me – and the more convinced the other person is, the funnier it is. I’ve been thinking about the conversation fairly often over the past little while, each time shaking my head in amused incredulity.
And then it struck me that if it’s ludicrous for other people – especially those who don’t know me well – to think they know what’s best for me, maybe it’s also ludicrous for me to assume that I know what’s best for them. Maybe all the helpful suggestions for change that I make out of the charity of my heart (I just want people to be happy, you know) are actually just suggestions for ways the recipient could change to suit me better. Maybe I have no idea what other people’s faults really are, and those things I see as faults are merely things that inconvenience me personally.
Interesting thoughts, these. And kind of liberating, as well. If I don’t really know what’s best for people, I don’t have to get so upset if they’re making choices that I wouldn’t make. I can stop worrying about people and then getting bugged at them because they’re worrying me. I can relax and trust that just as my life is in God’s hands, so are theirs.
So now I’m thinking about all the free time I’ll have on my hands once I start minding my own business…