Home birth. GMOs. Co-sleeping. Vaccinations. Real food. Toxins. Think about all the hot topics that get people riled up. For many, choosing to go against “the norm” and live a more natural, back-to-basics life is an easy decision. For many, those choices only come after lots of research, deciphering, and small changes. Either way, making the decision to go against mainstream living can be both gratifying and challenging… especially when those close to you don’t understand why you do the things you do.

It seems kind of silly that anyone should have to “justify” their natural approach to life, but the truth is that going against the grain can bring some major headaches. How do you justify your not-so-common, crunchy-granola, hippie ways?

Every parent I know (no matter what they choose to do) make their decisions based on what they think is best. When hot topics come up a parent’s passionate side definitely shows up. Unfortunately I have seen a lot of ruthlessness on both sides of most debates. Bridging the gap between two very different approaches to life may seem like an impossible task, but ultimately it’s something we need to do. I have found that whether I’m dealing with family, neighbors, or anyone who doesn’t understand (or even challenges) the way I choose to live that there are few things I can do to help.

Educate

When I told my parents I was planning a home birth I could see their eyes widen with fear. I really didn’t want them to worry about something I felt so good about. (And thankfully they didn’t really “challenge” my decision, but I could still tell they were concerned.) After lots of talking, showing my research, and explaining why this was important to me they were very supportive. I’m not saying they would do the same, but the were much more comfortable with our choice.

Not every decision we make gains that same support from all those around us. And it’s also important to remember that when we ask for time to educate that we give time back to hear their ideas as well.  When our best efforts to explain our reasons gets overlooked or ignored, rather than throw daggers we need remember to be patient. Ultimately, all we can do is try to teach one another, show respect, and agree to disagree when needed.

Understand

I honestly believe every person wants to do what they think is right. Most people are not looking to harm their children, ruin society, or purposely destroy their own well being.  If our choices are not understood we can choose to get upset or we can choose to see the other side of the coin. By trying to see another perspective I’m not suggesting we give up our own ideals. But if we can locate the concern or confusion from those around us we generally will find that those concerns are rooted in a desire to be validated. Attacking anyone’s perspective does nothing to help the situation. It only widens gaps. If we can’t educate, we must at least try to understand.

Finding common ground: Justifying your natural approach to life.

Let it be

Ultimately, if we can’t find a common ground, we need to keep living in line with our own beliefs and not be teetered by what other people may think. We want our children to grow up in a world where love and understanding trump contention and finger pointing. Let’s set the example by living a life of integrity and respect for the choices we all get to make.

Tell me, how do you deal with others who don’t understand your choices?

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