“Sometimes we subconsciously judge and categorize people and forget to accept others because they are different”
I started off today with this quote because I think it sums up everything I want to talk about today. I think this quote is very true, and may even be something of human nature to start to judge people as soon as we see them. I think from an evolutionary perspective, the first time we see someone, we begin to evaluate if they will have a positive impact on our survival, and/or some type of positive influence on our life; impacts such as emotional, intellectual, physical, social, sexual, and the list goes on and on. Further, the judgement in our minds surrounding these things, may or may not even be conscious. Judgement of others is all around us in our society, I don’t think anyone can argue that, and although it is not always the intent of judgement to be malicious, it’s affect on the person being judged often is some type of negative feeling.
So let’s now bring it back to lifestyle. Prior to going “paleo” I had very opinionated thoughts on certain things like diet and exercise, and I will admit that I did have certain judgments about other individual’s lifestyles that didn’t fit with my views, although I would never voice them out loud except probably to my wife. Once going “paleo”, this feeling intensified in me, now it was just backed by different principles, and directed at those I knew who had certain health issues (whether minor or major) which I knew could be controlled or cured with a “paleo” approach to life and diet. After a couple years of living this way and trying to push (for lack of a better term) this lifestyle onto others, I have come to the realization that not everyone is willing to change, and that’s OK! notice though that I didn’t say can’t change, because everyone can change if they really want to, but not everyone really wants to, and that’s OK too!
There is no point in pushing anything on anyone when they don’t agree, a little information here and there is fine, but without interest being shown in return, further discussion or push of something on someone is probably not welcome…in other words, no means no. A continuation down that road would only lead to negative emotions and stress for both sides. The pusher will be stressed and concerned because the other individual is unwilling to change, and the other individual would simply start feeling like their lifestyle is inadequate; thus, causing stress and an even more unhealthy lifestyle (just an example).
As I am sure is the case with many people who are now hooked on a “paleo” lifestyle, the above situation can even lead to the loss of friends and even close relationships with family. Again, not something we want since part of a healthy lifestyle is a strong social network. However, at the same time we are not going to give up our way of life either. So, in the end, mutual acceptance needs to take place with no judgement on either side. If neither party can accept, than the relationship will likely end, which in many such cases may be the best option. By the way, the end of a relationship can also occur in the presence of acceptance.
Now I did just give one scenario (paleo lifestyle) above; however, the concept of acceptance can be applied to many disagreements and situations. We are all different, and life will undoubtedly be less stressful for us all if we can fully accept these differences in others, that does not mean we will all be best friends, far from it, but it will mean that we are not judging those that are different, and therefore, not having hateful or negative thoughts about others who are not like us.
So I say do your best to take this attitude of acceptance of others with you wherever you go, the worst that can happen is that it strengthens your current relationships, ends those that need to be ended for better health, and reduces your overall stress level. I know we all want to change the world, and acceptance does not mean that we will not accomplish our goals and dreams, but it will allow us to focus our energies where they are most appreciated, whether that be your approach to friendship, love, or healthy living.
I will be striving to accept others also; however, if someone begins to ask me questions about “paleo” I will give them an earful of knowledge bombs, as long as they continue to be interested :-). If not, then I will cease and desist
“Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate everything as it is, and people as they are, rather than needing everything and everyone to be the impossible. I don’t believe in accepting a life of mediocrity, but sometimes we need to learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect”
Hope you all have an amazing week!
The Barefoot Golfer