Thought Catalog

I Wish You The Best

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Thomas Hafeneth

Pretty people, today I want to share one of my favorite mantras:

I wish you the best.

We have every option at our fingertips. It’s easier than ever to join weird niches, to find people who have your same obsessions or crumbs of philosophy. And yet. And yet. We judge each other mercilessly. How dare they redesign that logo. How dare they wear that shirt. How dare they write that fanfic. How dare they date that scumbag.

Something I worked on last year is what my coach calls ‘minding my own business’. We want to step in and save people because we are helpful. We want to steer people towards what we believe is right so they will avoid pain. And then we get in the habit of putting stakes in the ground and pointing at them.

Here’s the thing: you can give advice, you can tell your own life story, but you can’t snap your fingers and transfer your experience to someone else. A person can only work with the information they have, and their information definitely won’t match yours.

So many modern disagreements stem from this cosmic babysitting. “If I don’t make you believe in this right now, if I don’t fight you, all is lost. If I don’t make you attend this party, vote for this candidate, believe in inbox zero, I’m signing you up for a life of misery.”

Sometimes there’s a magical transfer: someone wants to know where your stakes came from, and why you put them there. There is an understanding. But to a random man who reads 1/10000 of my experience in tech and says, “that’s not how it is! I’m going to fight you!” I can only say, I wish you the best.

The magical transfer is never a guarantee. Our interactions with each other are too fleeting. I can’t fully convey to the extrovert all of the things that made me only trust my own company, and that my saying no has literally nothing to do with them.

I can’t tell the ‘Make America Great Again’ crowd that I have a Republican mother who is by all accounts the American immigrant success story. I can’t tell the friend broiling in anger that her anger would go away if she just left him because she cannot feel the potential relief of it flooding out of her body like I did once.

In lieu of some experiential transfer, all I can say is, I wish you the best. TC mark

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