Live and let live is a statement you are bound to hear more than once in your lifetime. Either you see it printed on a shirt, or posted on social media, or sang in a song. You will come across those words at some point in your lifetime. Which brings us to an important aspect of this conversation; “What does it mean ?” If you have heard these words, chances are you may have struggled with the meaning at some point, because this is such a vague statement.
What does it mean? What does it represent? Does it just mean that you should let people live their lives or there is more to it? What is the actual definition of the statement “Live and let live?”
What Is It?
The dictionary sees live and let live as a proverb and it means
“You should tolerate the opinions and the behaviors of others so that they will similarly tolerate your own.”
This simply means that as you go on in life, you will come across people who do things that are different from what it is you do, you should let them be. It is saying that, even though you do not like what they do, how you feel about it is immaterial, you should let them live their lives.
You are not being disturbed for your life choices do not mean that you have the best life choices. It just means that those around you either agree with what you do or do not care about what you do. Your life is lived as you deem fit, and it is only fair that you let others do the same.
The courtesy you have been handled by people who have not judged you for your life choices, you have to hand it to others as well. Besides, we have all been in situations where we were judged for our life choices, did we feel right? No. Knowing how you felt at the receiving end of such judgments should make you slow to judging other people.
Taylor Swift’s You Need to Calm Down said this in so many words and very vivid descriptions, in a part of the song she said
“And I ain’t tryna mess with your self-expression, but I’ve learned a lesson. That stressing and obsessing about somebody else is not fun.”
Sincerely, it is a lot of work to sit down and focus your mind on worrying about someone else and their life decisions.
Before you spiral into a situation where you have to start judging or concerning yourself with someone for their life choices, ask yourself three major questions. The first is “Does this choice affect you in some way?” The second is “Is this choice of any harm to the society and people around them? “Is this choice a danger to the choice maker?”
The third question should only come in when you are close to the person.
It does not mean that you agree with how they live their lives; it does not mean that these choices are okay with you. It just means that how you feel about these choices is how you feel, and it should not be the next person’s business. You do not like how they dress?
Fine. You will never dress that way? Beautiful! However, what is unacceptable is you, walking up to them and asking them to stop dressing that way. What is unacceptable is you judging them for dressing that way, or bullying them in whatever manner either subtle or not.
Why should you live and let live?
Do you realize how stressful life is already? Living life is stressful. A small throwback on how 2020 has been so far. The year started with fears of a world war three, just when we were recovering from the fact that Australian fires did not get to humans, we got slapped with COVID.
Amidst COVID there were other happenings, earthquakes, fires, and then the Beirut explosion. Do you understand that people were living their lives in Beirut, maybe having lunch, and their houses were blown to smithereens with them inside?
If there is anything is ‘Devil’s roller-coaster’ of a year has taught us is that life is short, and life is stressful. Why do you think it is okay to concern yourself with the lives of others, so much that you begin to get angry to the point of judging them?
The inability to will greatly reduce the quality of one’s life. How do you think your life would be if you scrunch your nose at every gay couple you see? Because you would see a lot, and by the time you get to your destination, you would have scrunched your nose so much that your forehead hurts.
Humans are living life unapologetically these days, and they are unashamedly being who they want to be because life is short. You should do the same, live your life unapologetically and unashamedly, but more importantly, without judgment of others.
You need to live and let live so that you can be happy. In the process of restraining having these negative thoughts about people, you will lose the ability to truly be happy. Happiness is important; do not lose it by being overly concerned with how other people choose to live their own lives. Living with a continuously scrunched up nose is a very unhappy way to live.
How to live and let live
Live and let live is one of those easy to say, hard to implement things. There is this aching desire in humans to want to interfere in things, situations, and people. No matter how many times someone tries to act “unbothered,” they are not.
The truth is, no matter how woke and accepting we claim to be, we are not as liberal as we claim to be, or as we would want to believe that we are. We have some reservations about things, we see some things, and we cringe.
It is not taking away your ability to cringe, or your need to inwardly frown at some things. It is saying that you do nothing, you say nothing, you do not behave in a way that shows that you are not in support of their lifestyle. It is in a simpler term is “Mind your business”.
That is seemingly hard for people, so yes, we sometimes need extra help to mind our businesses.
The first thing you have to understand is that these things you are bothered about are happening around you and not to you. Do you understand this? A girl is tattooed across her forehead- happening around you. A girl is trying to force a tattoo on your forehead- happening to you. Do you see the difference? You have only earned the right to fight or bother when this is happening to you.
You are not supposed to go talking to the girl and asking her about her life choices when you can just go on your way. A gay couple is kissing on the streets- happening around you. A gay couple is turning your face and making you forcefully watch them kiss- happening to you. If the latter did not take place, which it most certainly cannot be on your way with a smile. It does not concern you.
You have to learn how to adopt the 6 and 9 perspectives of things. What does this mean? You need to see things from the end of the other person. It is often easy for us to say “I am not being understood” and maybe you are not.
However, have you stopped to understand the other person? Do you realize that they too, want to be understood? Are you even trying to understand them? When you try to understand people, you will be more accepting of their life choices, and if you are not, it is fine. Just mind your business.
Most times, when we start getting involved in other people’s lives and being judgemental, we are being victims of nothing in particular. So, you felt a type of way because of something you saw, which had nothing to do with you. Then you start acting on that feeling, which was not the person’s fault.
You need to drop that victim mentality and accept the fact that you are turning into a bully, while the other person is the victim. If you have affected them in some way, because of your actions, immediately apologize and be on your way.
Adopting the philosophy is a choice, not adopting it, is a choice. Wanting to get involved with someone’s business that they end up feeling sad is a choice. Seeing people live their lives while you go on living your own without getting involved is a choice. Make the right one. Actively decide to always, eschewing anything that would make you do otherwise.
Finally, say the prayer of serenity. Do you remember this prayer? Here it is for emphasis “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The first part of the prayer is simple. You cannot change them, you do not have that power, it is not in their best interest to change, accept this, find peace, and move on.
The second part of the prayer only applies if the answer to all of the previous questions we looked at is yes. Are they affecting you in any way? Are they being a danger to society and others? Are they being a danger to themselves (remember that this question had a caveat)? If the answers are yes, then you certainly need courage.
Now, the final part of the prayer takes us right back to those initial questions again. If all the answers to the questions asked are “No”, and you are still trying to change them, you’re lacking wisdom. Wisdom will help you answer these questions and decide that it is none of your business.
This is how to live and let live. It looks easy, but human emotions are tricky, get yours under control so that other people can live in peace.
Itis, not a new statement, it has been for decades since people started realizing how negatively their actions affect others. Naturally, there are quotes about live and let live, let us look at some of them.
“Let me be, or let me be”
“If you judge a person that you don’t even know by the tattoos they have, the piercings they have, the way they dress or by how they look to you in general. You are the one with the issue, not them. Stop the hate. Live and let live.”
-Comic strip mama.
“We need a new religion, a global religion, based on one simple principle; live and let live.”
“Leave others alone, leave yourself alone! Live and let live!”
“People have the right to not change as per our wish, suggestion or command, even if the change will benefit nobody but them”
Try to remember these quotes if possible. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are prone to serving judgments on things that do not affect you, remember them.
A positive attitude without judgment will give you more reasons to be grateful for. When you walk the streets in the morning with absolutely no negative thoughts towards anyone, you get a better day. Just in case you think you are not harboring any negative thoughts, judging someone for life choices that have nothing to do with you, is very negative. So, instead of walking around with negative thoughts about people, no matter how subtle, live your life on your terms, while you extend the same courtesy to them.
Live and let live, what does the expression mean? Simple. Mind your business.