The title above is not a typo, an eye chart or in a foreign language. Do you know what it says? Here is a hint: it's the custom license plate I want for my car. Can you decipher it now? It says LIVE and LET LIVE.
Such a simple concept, yet actions from around our planet prove it's a philosophy not practiced by enough people. Wars, "ethnic cleansing" (one of my most despised terms), terrorism, and brutal dictatorships are all too common. Millions of people live in terror while carrying out the most basic of daily survival tasks. Women, in particular, are victimized in unbearable and unbelievable ways.
Those of us living in 21st century United States are privileged to call this amazing democracy home. Part of what makes us ever better as a country is people speaking out when there is room for improvement. As a proud American, I have an opinion as to how we can all enjoy our freedoms even more.
Even in the United States my future license plate would be disputed by many. My underlying belief system is the following: adults should be allowed to live their lives how they see fit only ifno one else is actually (not theoretically) hurt by doing so. In our fascinating, colorful, multi-cultural society, there are endless combinations of how people create their lives. In the United States, we get to choose our own paths regardless of the choices made by others. What religion my neighbors practice is unrelated to my family's beliefs. What occupations my friends pursue has no impact on my choice to be a life coach. How many children my siblings have doesn't change my total of two.
So why are many people insistent that their way, their religion, their choices are the right ones? Why are many people so self righteous that their way is "the truth?" In the wonderfully mixed up, zany United States, how is it even possible that anyone believes the myth that one size fits all?
While I don't believe people should make the same choices I make, I do believe we would be a more compassionate society if we all subscribed to "live and let live" as our motto. Imagine people marrying whomever they want, thereby creating their version of a loving family. Imagine people observing their religious tenets without criticizing people of other faiths, sometimes telling the "heretics" they're going to hell (whatever that means).
I come from a very diverse family. Our family gatherings are colorful, literally and figuratively. We have single people and married couples. We have families with and without children. We have same sex and opposite sex couples. We have people of varying skin colors. We have Christians, Jews, Buddhists, agnostics, and wonderful blends of various traditions. We have birth children and children adopted from outside the United States. We have single parents and two parent households. Like big box store ads, you name it, we've got it. We're not perfect, but we love each, accept each other, and welcome every addition to the family. My parents set the tone when they raised their children to pursue what makes them happy. I believe we have passed that down to our children, who are now raising yet another generation.
Live and let live is easy to subscribe to and even easier to practice. Here are the instructions:
1. Does someone's choice negatively impact the lives of other people? Yes or no?
2. If yes, what observable evidence do you have? Disapproval is not evidence.
3. If there is no such evidence, then your answer is really "no." Move on.
As a society, we don't need to agree with each other. We don't even need to like each other. But we do need to respect each other. So let's make a pact: from this point forward, let's LVLETLV.