Your life is not a democracy:  part 2, the expert panel 

My life. My body. My personal choices. One voter: me

People who genuinely love me and want to see me rise are on a small and special consultation panel. Opinions may be sought, listened to and taken under review!  

People I admire and who have more experience in certain fields (ones I know and ones I’ll never meet) are also consulted via their books, talks etc or if I’m lucky and they have time/energy/the inclination, I’ll ask them

in person or via social media. 

Groups over whom I hold unfair privilege because I am cis, white, Western etc also have a voice on the panel (see above re: experts). I invite being called out by members these groups, even if it makes me feel uncomfortable. This intervention is not expected or taken for granted though, I do my research, learning about and working on my privilege is my own responsibility. 

There’s one other group – random encounters or conversations which my intuition tells me are important. These get a seat.  

Any seat on the panel still isn’t a vote-on-Jani’s-life though. 

Everyone else? Strangers on the internet, people I hardly know, distant family members….. these folks get no votes, no airtime, no seats on the panel. They are welcome to ride along, share, learn, play, contribute – or competely ignore all that I do.  

But why not just listen to everyone’s opinion about my life? Surely other people’s opinions matter?

Here’s why: 

The clamour of other voices can divert us from who we really are and from living our best life as the best version of ourselves (which is all anyone can hope to do, right?). 

We evolved to live in small groups of people who cared about us and had a very real investment in our wellbeing.  

Our world now doesn’t look like that, and to keep ourselves safe and sane, boundaries are a useful tool. 

Often the loudest voices in our lives are critics, doubters and naysayers, who have little to add to our lives and much to take away – especially if they are given a vote or a seat in the panel. 

The voices of strangers, who are just looking casually from the outside and don’t have any personal investment in us can also be disproportionately loud. 

This is why I give these folks no seats anywhere on the decision making panel of the Life of Jani. 
Also, I don’t expect to have a vote in the Life of You. Not even if I’m really close to you. Definitely not if I’m not.  

I will give my opinion about what I think is right and wrong, usually in a general way (not directed at any one person) and you are welcome to ignore it. 

Right to give an opinion and right to have somebody bow to that opinion are not the same thing. At all. 

If you give me a seat on your panel I will treat this as the honour I know it to be, and not expect this position to be ongoing.  

I think this is the way to live a good and full life: 

Choose your panel of advisers wisely and bravely, and never give a vote on your life, your body, your personal choices to anyone but you. 
Side note: I have noticed that when I advocate this way of living, it tends to wind some folks up. Not 100% sure why, but if you feel wound up by it, please deal with this using your own energy, I wish you well and respect your feelings but they are not my business. 

So. Who gets a seat on your consultation panel? Please tell me if you want to!

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