When you’re young, your path in life is set.
You are not that much different than most people you know.
You attend the same schools, you move from grade to grade, you study the same things, participate in the same extracurriculars, you have the same basic standards and expectations for your lives.
As you get older, you start to see a difference in outcomes.
You see the silent effects of privilege, of character, of good decision making and bad. You see the way that some people manage their lives or fail to do so. You see who has changed and who has not.
You see who has grown, and who has not.
Throughout your life, you will look back and realize that there are many people who you used to know who have stayed precisely where they’ve always been.
Not geographically, but mentally and emotionally.
There are people who still care about the same shallow dramas, the same petty problems, the same constant game of one-upping, and proving who has the most perfect life.
There are people who are still lost in the nuances of the same worthiness game that we all played at some point or another.
You will realize, very quickly, that they aren’t necessarily bad people — they just never evolved.
They never quite grew up.
The secret is that it’s not your job to tell them they need to.
It’s actually not your job to decide whether they are off course or on, doing well or not.
In fact, your own growth requires you to let go of these assumptions, these ideas, these imaginary pictures you have of someone’s life based on what you’ve pieced together from social media.
Once upon a time, people outgrew one another and then didn’t hear about or from each other until a reunion, or unless they chose to keep in touch.
Today, we get to see how everyone turned out in real-time.
Sometimes, we’re inspired.
Sometimes, we’re encouraged.
Sometimes, we’re so grateful.
Sometimes, we’re saddened.
But no matter what, we are not here to be the judge of someone else’s growth — we can only be the judge of our own.
Because in a funny way, our assertion that a person is getting too lost in their own, old ways of thinking is the admission that we, too, once thought that way as well.
We are being judgmental.
We are proving that there is still more growth to do.
The truth is that we cannot understand someone’s journey completely, though the bits and pieces we see through social media might seem to indicate that we might.
The truth is that we do not know if the way they are acting is precisely the way they must act in order to have a real awakening, in order to do what they must to feel okay, in order to be who they really are.
Though we cannot know this for sure, we can also remove ourselves from the crossfires.
We are allowed to keep distance, we are allowed to take space.
We cannot force other people to grow in the exact direction that we have decided is right.
We can only try to offer them the grace to make their own choices and hope that we, too, might get that as well.