The hypocritical nature of calling others selfish for differed opinions and actions
This morning, I logged onto Facebook and was greeted by a post from George Takei about a young woman who made the best of her fiance calling off their wedding (the original article appeared here before dose shared it). After being jilted by the man she was supposed to spend the rest of her life with, some friends suggested a great way to deal with the pain; by participating in a trash the dress session with her and her bridesmaids. She spoke to her parents about the idea, since they paid for the dress, and they were 100% on board with the idea.
Having your wedding called off and your betrothed tell you only mere weeks before the wedding that they no longer love you and want to be with you is incredibly hard. I’ve witnessed a loved one go through this, and finding a way to climb back up can be difficult. Shelby took what she was dealt, and found a way to use it to lift herself up – to take a day that could have gone down in her memories as full of misery, hurt and abandonment, and make it HERS again.
Not surprisingly, many people on the internet did not respond well to this. Because you know, the way one woman deals with the loss is TOTALLY their call as to whether it’s right or wrong.
Now, these were nowhere near the worst of the comments, but a definite common theme was that people seemed to enjoy inferring she was selfish for not donating the dress or for not offering it to a bride less fortunate. Selfish for choosing to destroy something that was paid for, that helped her let go of an insanely painful situation.
The hypocritical nature of those accusations makes me wish I could reach through the internet and slap them across the face. I wonder, how many of these people own a home bigger than they need, a car with any extra goodies, go out for dinner, buy coffee, buy smokes, buy lottery tickets? How many of them pay for a big cable package? Have expensive electronics? Buy more clothes than they need, buy more expensive clothes than they need? How many of them own anything that is not a NEED but they have because they want it? By their very accusation, they too are selfish for not using what they have to put towards the less fortunate.
In our first world culture, people LOVE to pass judgement and throw out accusations of things that they themselves are guilty of, and will defend to the death why they are not actually guilty. It’s a double-standard that we actively employ in our overly-indulged lives.
But even worse, is our belief that we have the right to define a person by their actions (even when their actions are not morally wrong, or evil), based on the way WE would have handled a situation.
Not everyone is going to deal with grief, hurt and loss the same way. Not everyone is going to find the same things to give them that release from it all and strengthen them to move forward. Shelby did something that helped her. Something that helped to push her back to her feet and deal. And what she did, she did with class. In her guest blog post, nowhere did she accuse the groom of being a bad person, nor did she feel the need to disclose to the world anything ‘damning’ of him. She explained what happened and how it impacted her, and she used it to fuel her forward.
“The moment the paint hit my dress… I was free. All the disappointment, all the hurt… I just felt it leave me,” she wrote in the blog post. “I can’t even describe how liberating and cathartic the experience was for me. I let go of all the hurt and became myself again.”
She then used the dress, and the situation, to help raise money for those less fortunate. Her pain, and her moving forward, was used to help others. And yet people still criticized it, calling it a ‘cry for attention’ and selfish that she would use this to help raise money.
Life is about taking the hard knocks, the curveballs and the rocky paths, and finding a way to push forward to the next better thing. When you can learn to stand tall, and find something that can take the fight back for you, that’s an incredible step. Regardless of whether you agree with the method or the choice, it doesn’t alter the fact that what the person did was what they needed to do.
We’re all different. We process things differently, we react to things differently. We are inspired by different things, we are passionate about different things, and we are guided by different things. Just because the thing that helps get someone back on their feet isn’t the thing you would do doesn’t make it selfish. It doesn’t make it immature, a cry for attention, or a spoiled ‘bitch’ as some called her. It simply makes her different.
Shelby took a situation that could have been devastating, that could have derailed her life for years to come, and turned it into something that could help her heal. For that, she deserves a high-five, because it’s a hell of a lot further than many even try to get after something like that. For that, she deserves to be an inspiration to both brides and grooms who have been through this – that it’s okay to find a way to use it to heal.