Good For You, Not For Me
In Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please”, she talks about a concept that not only is guiding wisdom but also a beautiful way to reconcile. She calls it “Good for you, Not for me”. She uses it particularly with issues of women tearing each other down and feeling like they’re in constant competition in the insatiable pursuit of “having it all”.
I’ve also come to really rely on this concept, this semester in particular. It’s idea that you’ll live your own life in the pursuit of your unique values and I will live mine; both ways are good and beautiful. Maybe they’ll overlap a little but if they don’t, that’s perfectly fine.
At the end of college, we’re all diverging in the wood. Some of us know exactly where we’re going and even who we’re going with. We know our next job or internship, our significant other, our new apartment, or grad school. Some of us are going home, taking a breath, mapping out a new path. Others aren’t worried and look forward to leisurely strolling through the infinite possibilities before us. And it’s overwhelming and dangerous and easy for us to look at the choices of others and in a place of self-doubt, deem them “wrong”.
Here’s what I’ve come to know : Comparison is the thief of joy. I know what is good for me and I know there is a very limited and specific group of people who are understanding or even agree. I know my values, morals, convictions, and I know the importance of pursuing them whole-heartedly. I know that some people have thought me flighty or stubborn or hard to understand, but at the end, I believe in my path. I believe that most people believe this fiercely about their own choices too.
But there’s a huge flaw in this overall logic. The thought “Good for you” implies that everyone pursues what is in their best interest. And I can tell you from all the unhealthy boyfriends my friends get entangled in and shameful mistakes, lapses in judgement, snap decisions, and alcohol that I’ve witnessed in college would prove different. Some people are easily manipulated, some people are selfish to a fault, some people are naive, all leading to choices that one can’t help but worry about; mostly we’re all too afraid to go for what is right and good in the end.
So how do you bridge not judging someone with the conviction that their actions aren’t good for them?
If you have an answer, please submit it to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, because you my friend are a humanitarian genius.
Anyway, I’ll end with the fact that ends are just transitions and transitions point to a new future. No one will end up on the same path but as we stumble around in the woods, we can all take heart in the fact that we’re not reaching our destination any time soon.
Nearly done and affectionately yours,