Live and let live!
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, this phrase is used to say that a person should live as he or she chooses and let other people do the same. Generally, many have accepted it as a proverb which means “you should tolerate the opinions and behaviour of others so that they will similarly tolerate your own”. In other words, accept others as they are and try not to change them so you also can be free to live your own life (without someone else trying to change you too).
Collins Dictionary jumps out to me as the coolest of all the varied meanings attributed to this idiom: “You say live and let live as a way of saying that you should let other people behave in the way that they want to and not criticize them for behaving differently from you.” The key phrase here is ‘behaving differently from you’
During the course of the week, this hackneyed phrase, live and let live, danced into my mind and I decided to ponder upon it a little, in an attempt to see and understand it even better, for learning never ends!
Live and let live. Asides the cliche it’s already become these days, what does it really mean, in more practical ways and how can it be applied to everyday life? I’d like to share my interpretation of it in the way I approach my journey or experience of the gift of life. I’m sure you would also like to employ this to have the peace that comes from simply living and not getting things unnecessarily twisted, so here you go!
The summary of my musings about this is: live your life, and let others live theirs. No unnecessary, selfish or unfair expectations and blame giving. Let people be free to be themselves without having to be miserable trying to meet the expectations set for them by YOU. Life — the breathe we have in us and the opportunity to be a living thing — is too precious to not be authentic in the way we go about living it.
You may be able to talk and convince the whole world while someone else can’t even find their voice yet. And it’s alright. It doesn’t mean you’re smarter or the other person is not doing enough.
You may have many friends and your social circle is very big, but another only has one or two confidants in their life. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re being rewarded for being a good person or they have some bad character which chases people away.
You are just back from an outing and off you go working around the house but another person is back from an outing but goes straight to the bedroom to crash. That doesn’t make you active and hardworking and them lazy. No. You may just be someone who thrives and gets energized by being around people, while they on the other hand may wither or get drained by social interactions and need that alone time to refill their energy tank.
And the list goes on….!
Point is: Don’t go thinking you are better than another or look down on others for things you consider an inability or failure on their parts. Don’t insist others must act, behave or respond to situations as you do. You are you and they are themselves. Don’t make others feel inadequate for who they are not meant or created to be. We are all configured differently and it is this variety that brings about the beauty we call LIFE. As long as other’s differences does not constitute a crime or cause harm to another person, let them be and have peace.
My featured image for this post is a picture I took in the neighborhood, of about four or five identifiable plants (I won’t call them weeds, even though that’s what they academically are… lol) living together in peace and harmony. I don’t think the plant with the yellow flowers is criticizing the others for not having yellow flowers. I don’t think the one with a particular shape for it’s leaves is questioning the one beside it for not having the same leaf structure. They are all busy facing the Sun for photosynthesis, and hence, life. They are simply being and enjoying life. So, please, remember to live your life and let others live theirs. For we are all not the same and that is beautiful too.
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