You Do You: Who asked your opinion anyway?



Photographer: Emma Leigh Parker Courtesy of

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I have evaluated my own life, the interactions I have with people in my life, the things that build me up, and the things that have tried to tear me down. Any difficulty in relationships seems to come down to a single factor. A stained soul.

A life suggestion…you might consider that it’s just time to sit down and shut the fuck up.

The first thing I have to point out is that it’s really none of anyone’s business what other people are doing in life if it isn’t truly hurting someone else, but that sure doesn’t stop people from throwing opinions around like birdseed at a wedding celebration, does it? And much like that birdseed at those wedding celebrations, the opinions will likely fall on deaf ears just as the fate of the seeds is to hit the unforgiving ground.

I am of the mindset that when other people are paying your way through life, you have granted said people the right to have an opinion. It’s kind of a trade off deal. You can’t take care of your own shit, and they have now purchased the right to have an opinion over your irresponsible choices. If you don’t like it, start paying (or paving) your own way.

However, when people have not “purchased” the right to toss their perspectives around, it is always a good rule of thumb to keep mouths closed about another’s personal choices. The fact is, there are some opinions that are not necessary to share with someone about their personal lives, and there are some opinions that, quite frankly, no one really gives a shit that you have.

If someone is not divulging a hardship, asking you what you think, and you’re not paying their bills here is a life suggestion… you might consider that it’s just time to sit down and shut the fuck up.

I much prefer to stay out of other people’s business, and I prefer that others stay out of mine unless invited. This lifestyle choice comes with problems of it’s own. I do not expect others to drop everything or be inconvenienced for me, and in return, they should not expect that I’ll drop everything or be inconvenienced for them.

Yes, having a “go to” person in life is always a plus, and we should oblige those situations accordingly. This should be a choice to be available and vulnerable. There are rarely good outcomes when the decision is based on the expectations, or demands of someone else.

As a friend and family member, I’m a pretty poor one in the arena of  digging to know what’s going on. I operate by the rule that if someone needs me, they know where to find me. I care about others, but I also believe that people can handle their own business without my nosey inquiries all of the time. This can at times come across as being uncaring. If it isn’t directly affecting me, or my household, it really isn’t my business to pry into.

It is true that I’m selective about where I give my fucks, but I do make some assumptions about the people in my life. If they have something they want to share, they will offer that information. I will do the same. Being their friend or family member does not entitle me to every detail of their lives nor them to every detail of mine. It’s a voluntary, and mutual process for me.

This could be misconstrued as self centered arrogance, but it’s more a lack of curiosity over the finer details and personal goings on of everyone I know. Perhaps it is a trust in others to make their own decisions. I’m perfectly content working on and focusing on my own problems most of the time. I figure that if a person really needs something from me, like emotional support or an opinion, they will let me know. Otherwise, live and let live.

Some friends and family do not apply that philosophy in return. Instead, there is a barrage of unwarranted commentary, some of which that serve only as digs and provide nothing constructive. Ah, criticism. Where might any of us be without the unwanted criticism of our loved ones?

Probably someplace better.

Who doesn’t love a heaping helping of criticism from those that are supposed to support us in our life endeavors? It’s practically at every holiday gathering, or birthday party celebration. It’s brought up at lunches, or random family dinners.

Instead of viewing life as an opportunity to learn and grow, it is somehow twisted into a mangled pile of failures in these tender moments with our loved ones. The crème de la crème is that these criticisms are often done in front of everyone in attendance so all can partake in the sadness of your failed attempts at living with meaning.

And nobody does that better than the people that “love” you most.

If you feel unfairly criticized all of the time, it is possible that  you’re an incredibly lazy, selfish, jerk that serves as a drain on the lives of those around you…but it is more likely that you choose to surround yourself with assholes.

The thing I’ve come to realize is that it seems to be the people with the most regret, and the more deeply stained souls that thrive on pointing out every mistake you’ve made in life. As a means to punish you, or live through you, or deter you, or to discourage you because you have done something they cannot. You are living for yourself, and not to please others.

These unforgiving digs come from those who rarely, if ever, apologize when they are wrong. These harsh critiques come from people who do not take full responsibility for their own failures or wrong doings in life. They are too afraid to live, to fail, and to ultimately take responsibility for themselves.

It is because of this that your failures, your choices they didn’t agree with, the strength you demonstrated in doing what was best for you, becomes the canvas for which they black out everything good in what you’ve created.

It is rarely mentioned by our critics that we grew from those mistakes, or that we became better. The mistake itself is the only thing seen. Not what was gained, or the progress that was made because of those treks through Fuck-Up Central. If you’re doing it right, the canvas SHOULD be mostly black in the critic’s mind. In yours, it will be vibrantly colored.

“You do you,” is the new, and potentially more pleasant, form of “fuck off.”

It is difficult for anyone to shrug off criticism at every turn. The negative feedback has a tendency to creep in and make you question who you are and what you are doing in life. Sometimes this can jolt one to the better path, but more often than not, it hinders people. Even when you are conscious of the fact that the negativity is stemming from someone else’s misery, it can have a long term, life altering affect.

I’m not sure what the solution is other than to keep reminding yourself that what you’re doing is just fine if you feel good about it. If you’re living with the best of intentions, your mistakes are helping you grow while purifying your soul’s purpose. If someone insists on punishing you for your mistakes, it’s important to remember that they are only taking their own bullshit soul stains out on you.

The stained souls will always find fault in the choices of others because they are tainted with their own deeply buried faults. For these lost souls, it will always be the easier thing to point out the flaws in someone else because they cannot be honest with themselves, much less others, about their own shortcomings.

I was often told in my younger years that it isn’t your mistakes that define you, but how you choose to correct them. I fully buy in to this idea. I do not believe it is about the mistake, but how people choose to carry their mistakes. The ones taking responsibility will thrive and grow. These are the best people to be around. The people denying their mistakes, and their responsibility in their choices will only grow ugly from the inside out. These are the people to avoid.

“You do you,” is the new, and potentially more pleasant, form of “fuck off.”  It just might be the best response in our dealings with people such as these.

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