The article in brief: The author discusses a question that dictates the way many families make decisions and choose to live their lives.
As you read this title, some of you may be wondering what I mean, while a lot of you will be cringing as you have probably heard this question far too often. For those of us who have been raised in this part of the world, this is a question that has been part of many family discussions. And there seems to be no answer that is satisfying. I remember when I was growing up, every idea or dream I had was shut down with this question. “You can’t go abroad alone to study – what will people say?”, “You want to work in a hotel? – what will people say?”, and on and on it went. And my answer was always, “What is it to those people how I choose to live my life?” – as I said, no answer is satisfying enough.
Many discussions and arguments revolved around this question, making me realize that I could never be happy as long as “people” had a say in my life. I knew I couldn’t live that way and was determined not to let anyone hold me back from my goals. It took me a long time, but I rose above it all and was eventually able to defy those “people”, and follow my ambitions.
I moved on with my life, and assumed that people have also moved past this “question”, but it seems it was only because I am now married. Yes, apparently, being a wife and a mother has made me immune to the question of “what will people say?” It’s funny that once you are married, people talk less about you, as if this new status takes away from the magnitude of their questions.
It is frustrating to see that being single makes you a target for “talk”. It’s even more unnerving when you hear the phrase “it’s OK for so and so to do that, she’s married”. How does having a husband suddenly make it OK for you to do the same things you wanted to do when you were single? This does not mean that only women are victims of this question – countless men have also fallen prey to the “what will people say” question, about their hobbies, their career choices, their social life, etc.
So it seems the question is still prevalent, and will stay for a very long time to come. However, I am here to say that it doesn’t need to go on this way. By continuing to give in to this question, you are only holding yourself back from realizing your true potential. People will always talk and judge, and as long as we give in to their demands, we shall remain their slaves.
It’s important to realize that we have one life and we should live it for ourselves. I’m not saying we should disobey our parents but we should be able to differentiate between what really matters to us and what doesn’t. You have to learn to separate and distance yourself as much as you can from this idle chatter and focus on developing yourself. Don’t let the limited minds of certain people be the reason why you don’t dare to achieve your goals. Instead of focusing on what they will say about you, focus on how you feel about you when you go to bed at night. Remember, at the end of it all, it’s between you and God only.
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.