A few weeks ago I was in Atlanta for a black tie dinner and awards ceremony for my business. I’m dressed in my dazzling evening gown so of course I’m feeling extra glamorous and I walk up to the lobby bar of the hotel in which the event is being held and the gentleman next to me starts to make what I thought was small talk at first. He asks me what my partners and I are all dressed up for and within less than 2 minutes he’s asking very personal questions about my marital status and whether or not I have kids. When I answer simply no to both, he hits me with the kicker, “Well that’s selfish!” Excuse me sir? I was so shocked and insulted that someone I just met whose name I didn’t even know had made such a judgment, it almost took my breath away. He knew nothing about my story or the circumstances of my life but yet he felt comfortable in making a judgment about me as a person. Sure, I could explain his insensitive remark away by blaming it on the alcohol but sadly, he wasn’t the first person to overstep his boundaries in making unfounded remarks about others’ personal lives.
What is the fascination we have as humans to be concerned with and make judgments about how others live their lives anyway? Some would argue the social media driven and reality TV-laden world in which we live where people overshare and overindulge in other’s lives is the cause. I would have to agree with that. Though the reality is regardless of how much someone shares or doesn’t share, we can’t possibly know another person’s full story and most importantly, it’s really none of our business.
My pastor preached a sermon this Sunday entitled “The Half Has Not Been Told” about how each of us has a public bio and a private bio, and while both help to make us who we are, God is really the only one who knows both stories intimately and He’s the only one who should. He’s the only who is safe to pass judgment. It is simply not meant for us to pry into other’s lives and make judgments about their choices, but yet we do it sometimes subconsciously, perhaps because in a way it makes us feel better about ourselves and the decisions we’ve made.
I have to admit, I’ve been a culprit of this myself. We all have. Sadly, I think it has become human nature to secretly and sometimes not so secretly, compare ourselves to others and measure the success of our lives based on the decisions that others have made for their own. It sounds crazy when you think about it in these terms but it happens every day. Whether we indulge in reality TV, scroll through our news feeds dozens of times per day, or just simply find ourselves talking about other’s lives under any other context besides an uplifting one, we all do it.
Perhaps we would be better at this whole life thing if we reflected within and became better stewards of the decisions we make for ourselves. I think little August had it right when she hilariously coined the phrase “Worry About Yourself!”