I want to talk about a Dutch proverb today that dates back to 1622: Live and let live. The general idea of this phrase is to be tolerant and accepting of how other people live their lives, especially if it’s different from how you live yours. This is particularly apropos during the holiday season.
We have our own version of this motto in Bright Line Eating: Keep your eyes on your own plate. Sometimes when people start their Bright Line journey and are excited about it, they may be a little judgy about how other people eat and take care of their bodies. To counter that, we say to keep your eyes on your own plate, rather than theirs.
Think about the latter part of the Dutch proverb, namely: let live. I think the world works best when it’s man-on-man defense—and the person you’re guarding is yourself. It works best when you’re taking care of yourself, advocating for yourself, and keeping your own side of the street clean. If everyone does that, the world is a utopia, isn’t it?
I love that I’m charged with taking care of just one soul: my own. During the holiday season, it can be important to remember this: each of us needs to trust that we’re taking care of ourselves, and it’s none of our business how others take care of themselves.
Think of the three Cs of Al-Anon: I didn’t cause it. I can’t cure it. I can’t control it. It’s not mine to judge, manage, or control.
Now think about the first part of the motto: live. This first all-important word is often overlooked when we consider the meaning of the motto as a whole. The word “live” reminds us we have our own lives to shape, create, and nurture. Our contribution to other’s lives is first and foremost in living our own exquisite life. We need to remember that we are bold, bright, self-caring, compassionate, kind, ethical, civil, thoughtful, humble, and earnest. We need to practice that to the best of our ability.
If we want other people to be inspired, we need to be inspiring. We need to live, focus on ourselves, and be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.
What a privilege it is to have a life to live! Sometimes I look around in awe and wonder and think that the purpose of life is just to be amazed. To look at the beauty and struggle and death and rebirth and be gobsmacked by it all. To be present and let it all sink it, deep into the flesh and soul and bones, and just live in wonderment of it. This life: live and let live.