Friday, 26 September 2014

Dear Friend: What is best for you

Dear Friend,

In this letter I am acting as mother, father, family, friends and anyone else who may have used the phrase 'I'm doing what is best for you'...or anything similar. Sometimes it can be phrased as 'We want to do what's best' or even 'ok, do what you think is best'. Now this last one is particularly ironic as the point I want to make to you is that this phrase is rarely ever followed by what is best for you. It is a phrase used to justify doing something in the hope that any arguments you may have against said 'something' will fall flat. I mean, who doesn't want what's best for them? Well I can answer that simply. What someone else thinks is best for you is not necessarily going to be what is actually best for you. I suppose this then leads to the question of 'what does "the best for me" mean'?.

For me, if something is 'the best' option out there, it is the one that will make me happiest. In simple terms, when looking for temporary jobs for the Autumn of my gap year, I found myself recently with a choice of three job offers. In order to choose which to take I thought about which would make me happiest for three months...selling saucepans, selling menswear or selling chocolate? I would love to say saucepans won hands down but they didn't. Chocolate was the winner because I can't imagine myself not smiling on a daily basis working there. Surely that is what we aim for in life? To be happy and successful in what we do? Success alone is fine but how are you meant to enjoy it if you're not happy?

This is why when someone talks about what is best for you, and I don't want to cause any trouble, but you shouldn't just accept that as a faultless argument. The argument should end when a decision has been reached that leaves you (everyone else preferably but primarily, and most importantly, you) happy.

Yours hopefully,

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