Ever since I decided to leave my career to focus on my health I am forever receiving judgement and criticism from some friends, family or strangers alike. Once marrying into another culture this judgement and criticism only heightened. Yet those only so willing to pass judgement easily are usually in no position to do so themselves. So why do people think they have the right to judge your life?
We all have walked down different paths in life and you can only make assumptions on the exterior. What about what lays beneath; that part of the iceberg that floats beneath the surface of the water. This is the part that has the largest impact on one's life, yet most people choose to ignore. Why bother getting to know the real reason why someone isn't working? Or why someone is drinking? Or why someone is homeless? Unfortunately life isn't fair to everyone and no matter how wise or educated your choices are in life, sometimes it just doesn't go as planned.
I chose to work my way up the corporate ladder rather than going to university. I spent ten years of my life burning the midnight oil and working weekends to make it up that ladder. As with many people I financed my furniture, car and some of my lifestyle so that I may progress further and pay it down as I earned more.
Though what I didn't realise is that I had a predisposition to mental health and one depressive episode after the next finally became a psychotic break and I was hospitalised. I put my career on hold for the moment though not without great turmoil. Financially it took a toll on me so I took a small break hoping I was ready to return to the workforce.
Only to one year later experience another depressive episode, with a vengeance. It was at this point I decided I needed a longer break and had to focus on myself for once. Therefore I resigned from my career, paid out my debts and started to focus on my personal life. This is a decision that doesn't come lightly and came with much deliberation.
This was when I met my now husband, and decided that our future together was what I would now focus on. So when he left for India I decided to take a leap of faith for love and accompany him. We eventually married and decided to apply for his permanent residency together. I eventually returned home and we now have a long distance relationship until it is finalised. Therefore my life is essentially on hold until such time as we can start our life together. Simply because I made the decision to follow my heart and support my partner through the toughest challenge imaginable.
Yet I am still told to this day by family that no one understands me yet they love me very much. Insinuating that I have somehow thrown away my life and now regret it. What is there to not understand? I am trying to live life just like anyone else, whilst managing a chronic health condition. I want to be loved and have some success in both my personal and work life. But most of all to be happy.
However I am forever criticised should my life appear to be unsuccessful in the eyes of others. Particularly now that I need to ask for help from others whilst my husband is in India. It seems to be that if you need support from others, than it is acceptable for them to critcise your choices in life. The assumption being that you obviously made the wrong decision in life to arrive at your current situation. But reality is even the best of laid plans can fall through no matter how thorough your decision making process is. Or in some circumstances life just isn't always fair.
In today's society you would assume that we are becoming more open minded to how others choose to live their life, given that such movements like gay marriage and equality for women have come so far. Though somehow should you make choices in life that are not acceptable to society's standards then you are silently arbitrated.
Why is it acceptable to take a break from work should you suffer from a physical ailment, yet if you do the same due to a mental illness you are stigmatised? Or why is it okay that you be in a long distance relationship because your partner works in the defence force. Though a long distance relationship to wait for your partner's residency isn't.
Furthermore, should others compare their life to yours and criticise that you are not as successful or you have thrown away your life. Again you are arbitrated by society. However you can only take life at your own pace, try to walk at someone else's pace and this could be detrimental. Everything in life happens according to your time; where you are at in life. People may look at you and assume they are ahead or behind you, but they are not. We are all walking at our own pace, therefore we won't be at the same point in life at the same time.
This is the mentality I always treat others with, as assumptions are just that: a guess. Who is to say that the person you just passed judgement on, won't one day be in what you would deem a better position than yourself. Or that you may need their help one day? Besides, life is all about relationships, every interaction with another person is a form of relationship. Isn't it better to have a life filled with meaningful relationships than none. Shouldn't we be supporting one another rather than being so quick to pass judgement?