“Ugh,” my friend groaned in exasperation as we discussed how society views childless, unmarried women. “Why do people have to judge and label other people?”
“To try to know them,” I replied. “People label others who are different in an attempt to put them in a knowable, safe place.” I mimed putting an object in a shoe box and onto a shelf, “’There. I know you now. You are a spinster with all that entails.”
Sadly this is a common response in the world. We judge and label based on societal norms and our own values and experience. And as a rule, we like to be with people who have made the same life choices we have. It’s affirming and easy. People who are like us are tacitly saying we are okay and making the right life choices.
If you take a new path in life – move away, go to school, start a new career, marry, have children, change your beliefs or lifestyle – you can expect that many people will leave your sphere, either because they walk away or you disconnect from them.
The challenge and reward is embracing people who are different from you. They are the ones who will help you grow and develop a rich, multifaceted life.