How to "Live and Let Live"
There are plenty of teachings on how a person can live their life. Whether you’re a nihilist or a stoic, people prioritize certain values or proverbs over others.
One of the most popular idioms or sayings is “Live and Let Live,” which is so easy to say but hard to do.
First, what is ‘Live and Let Live?’:
Many people have different interpretations of this popular idiom. However, the most widely accepted definition is about tolerance or acceptance. To some, to “live and let live” is to let a person live and behave how they choose to, even if it’s different.
While that may be the easiest definition to give the phrase, it’s another matter to live the idiom mindfully. Here are some handy tips if you want to know what it means to live and let live:
- Give grace to others.
In a nutshell, giving grace to others is to treat them with kindness and compassion instead of providing judgment clouded by prejudice. A person who lets others “live and let live” gives them the benefit of the doubt and does not extend help or kindness in the hopes of expecting anything in return. In short, giving grace is to cut someone “some slack,” even if you disagree with their values and behavior.
- Prioritize peace.
Live and let live also involves prioritizing peace over discourse and conflict. Peace through harmony and accepting our differences can be a great way to create a more tolerant society. While peace means fewer arguments, dealing with things with peace as the goal can also be an approach to how others deal with disagreements and arguments.
Sometimes, the best way to agree between two opposite sides of an issue is to “agree to disagree” and live for another day.
- Avoid self-righteousness.
Self-righteousness is the conviction of one’s moral superiority over others simply under disagreement on how they live. It is a narrow moralistic view that sees things as “black” and “white” instead of shades of grey in between. To live and let live is to avoid preaching what you believe about how a person should live their lives instead of letting them just be.
- Extend courtesy, even if you disagree.
Much like giving grace, extending courtesy means acknowledging a person’s value as a human being, even if you disagree with their values, opinions, and behaviors. Despite our differences, we are all members of humanity, so to let a person live and let live is to acknowledge the need for a person’s freedom of choice.
Bottomline: Live and let live is a wonderful idiom that can be interpreted in many ways. However, it cannot be easy to live mindfully, especially when plenty of interpretations of the phrase exist. Nevertheless, learning to “live and let live” can be a great way to avoid conflict and prioritize peace.