This is honestly some of the best advice that I’ve gotten in the recent months. Though it usually comes with layers of meaning and sometimes sarcasm. At times it’s encouragement for me to go forward with whatever it is I’m talking about, or at other times it comes with resignation as my friend realizes that there isn’t really anything he can do to change my mind. And the real comic gem in all this advice giving is that it comes in the context of a Star Wars Miniature game that I play. Super nerdy – I know.
So the group of us that play spend a lot of time talking about what little plastic star fighters we want to play as, and how to equip our ships with different pilots and equipment and what-not, and there are just so many options that it usually does just come down to personal preference. So as we talk and strategize and try to think of the best combinations of pilots and ships eventually someone would drop the line, which is both affirming of our own personal play style, but also a way to say, “I can give you advice, but I know whatever you’re planning on doing, you’ll do it no matter what I say.”
As I’ve thought about this advice, and considered how far beyond the confines of my little game it could go, I’ve come to realize this may be some of the best advice you can give to someone. It affirms that the best option is usually the one that comes the most naturally. Not saying this is perfect advice, sometimes what would be “natural” leads to a lot of pain and frustration. More so I think this advice is great when looking at two or three equally good choices, and what it really comes down to is personal desires and wants.
Some of us are good at this, I’m gonna do this because it fits me, and some of us struggle at it, wondering what others may think. I think that a lot of the time we get preoccupied with wondering how others are perceiving us, and would rather do what others may think is “better” rather than what we actually want to do. I good thing to remember is that other people are thinking about you much less often than you think they are. Another thing is that most people are much more understanding than we may think. Healthy people understand that while they may make a different decision in those circumstances, you have your own reasons to do what your doing, and while they may have advice, they let you make your own decisions. People who are unhealthy are the ones that judge and condemn based on you choosing something they would not. And if they do, that’s on them, and you don’t need that kind of negativity and smallness in your life.
A source of inspiration for me in this regard, helping me make my own decisions, is a poem from Teddy Rosevelt called “The Man in the Arena.” It starts by saying, “It’s not the critic who counts.” It helps us see that when we’re going through life and we’re taking punches and trying to roll with them, and struggling to make choices, we don’t have to give the critics power. They may have words for us, but we don’t have to let their words land. We get to do us. Because living our own life is the task we’ve been giving, and it belongs to no other.
So friends, You Do You.