Your way is Yours: My way is Mine


After I shared last week about the importance of finding your own way of doing things - letting go of having to always do thing the “right” way - a Facebook discussion opened up on a few different walls.

People shared that doing things your own way can apply in really important situations. Your own diet. Your own exercise to meet your own needs. And even parenting - how to parent, and letting your kid be your kid.

I even think doing things your way applies to small things like making the bed, or folding the laundry. Yes, I know Marie Kondo has a particular way to fold T-shirts, and if that way works for you great - but if not you can let yourself off the hook for doing it that way just because she said you should.

What’s come up for me is that I know many people out there struggle to get out from under the guidance of someone else to be able to discover what way feels good and authentic. That’s usually where I fit in.

But there’s also the other side. For some folks, when I say “the only right way is your way” - they respond “of course it is!” There’s no trouble in that. The trouble comes when we start to think that as we find our own unique way we now have to win others over to that same way. The problem comes when we start to say MY way should also be YOUR way.

A simple example: My husband prefers his shirts folded so that they look like they just came home from the store. His way is to fold shirts that way. It works for him. I learned to fold shirts a different way and I am comfortable doing it the way I do it. When we first were married, he wanted his shirts folded his way. I did that for a while until I realized I just like my way better. Neither way is “right.” Neither way is going to make all that much difference in the long run of our marriage. I switched to folding shirts my way when I fold laundry. He folds shirts his way when he folds. It is a simple example. But you can see, we could choose to argue and make more stress for ourselves by insisting on one way or another. Or we can just let each other have the freedom to fold shirts as we please. Our marriage is happier because we’re not making a stand over things that don't need to be bothered about.

The thing to remember as you explore YOUR way is that it is yours and NO ONE ELSE’S. So as much as you want to be right and have the answer for someone else - you can’t.

Yes, of course, give advice WHEN ASKED

Yes, educate others WHEN IT’S YOUR ROLE

Yes, guide your children with a mix of support and acceptance.

And play with doing it all with the mindset that the other person has just as much ability, intuition, and creativity to find their way as you do. Because THEY DO! (yes, even children!)

I’m not talking about not standing up to inequality, racism, bullies, hate or injustice. I’m not talking about not having boundaries around how people treat you. I’m not encouraging you to let others have their way when it is causing real pain to you. No.

I am talking about letting people flourish as themselves. Giving the people in your life the same gift of acceptance and trust that you gave to yourself as you figured out your ways and letting them figure out what works for them. You promote beautiful diversity and respect difference when you keep your way to yourself and let me have my way.

Your way is Your way. My way is My way. Let’s celebrate our diversity!

Have you ever been that person so convinced that your way should be everyone else’s way? I’d love to hear about it and what this piece brings up for you. Please leave a comment in the space below.