You are not in my shoes and I am not in yours: thoughts about our current world situation


I haven’t written in my blog in a while – it’s been a long 6 months – and today I wanted to share some thoughts about what I’ve been observing in the world lately.  

Today’s discussion will touch upon topics that may be hard to read, but I hope my readers stick around to the end.

Be careful with “everyone should” statements

Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been noticing a lot of “everyone should” statements, people advocating for something that they feel is the right choice for everybody else too.  Today I’d like to remind my readers that there are 7 billion people on this planet with 7 billion different stories, perspectives and beliefs, and that what is right for you is not necessarily right for them.

As an example: after years of research, the human species has not yet found consensus on whether being omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Keto, Paleo, breakfast-skipping, breakfast-of-kings, wheat-free or lycopene-free is the key to health. But, for some reason, over the past few weeks, many of us “know” that face masks are important to being healthy.

Do you know that for certain? Do you know that for yourself? For others?

You are not in my shoes

In my case, when the world started changing in March, I decided to not wear masks.  I eliminated plastics and synthetic material from my household a few years ago, so I decided that I did not want to contribute to the plastic crisis of the world by using face masks, nor did I want these products on my body.

Also, during these last months, I wash my hands with the same frequency as I did before March, no more or less. I haven’t had a sanitising product in my house for years, and I haven’t started using any. I made the decision about hand sanitisers after hearing of evidence that our bodies need to be exposed to the good bacteria that exist in our world in order to stay healthy and help stave off the less-helpful germs (a.k.a. “bad” germs); hand sanitisers destroy all bacteria and viruses – the friendly ones along with the unfriendly ones. Thus, my decision to avoid sanitisers.

(Perhaps I’ll add a side note here to say that I also have a different perspective on illness than most people. That’s a topic that’s beyond the scope of today’s discussion, but I sincerely believe that my philosophical/theological views regarding health have greatly contributed to the excellent health I’ve enjoyed for the past 20 years. So, on top of what I’ve said above, I also feel that I don’t need to sanitize anything, because I know my immune system is a rock.)

So, at this point, some of you may be surprised by my decisions. You may be saying, “but we need to do these things to be healthy in the current situation.”  You may disagree with my reasons for avoiding masks and sanitisers. You may think they’re invalid. But you are not in my shoes.

You are not in their shoes

Here are two other real-life examples. These examples come from a pending law suit against the federal and Ontarian governments , claiming that the measures during these months have caused undue stress and damage. [Watch an interview with the lawyer filing the claim (50 minutes)] [See the detailed claim] Do the following people have valid reasons to avoid sanitisers and masks?

(The names of the plaintiffs in this suit have been removed to protect their identity; I will call them Chris and Gina.)

  • Chris has an allergy to corn and wheat. Most of the alcohol that is used to make hand sanitisers is distilled from corn and wheat, which means that Chris feels ill after using hand sanitisers. Is it the right thing to do, then, to require Chris to sanitise upon entering every grocery store, restaurant, ATM lobby and other establishments? Should Chris feel unwell so that you can rest assured that the PIN pad at the grocery store is clean? Is Chris’s reason for avoiding hand sanitiser valid?
  • Gina does not want to wear masks, and she is finding it difficult to enter retail establishments without anxiety of someone forcing her to put one on. Gina’s anxiety regarding masks is acute: she was raped years ago, and her aggressor forced a mask on her face to keep her from yelling. Putting on a mask today re-triggers this traumatic event for her. Should Gina simply get over it and wear a mask at the grocery store so that you feel better about avoiding her respiratory droplets? Is Gina’s reason for avoiding masks valid?

Be kind to one another

These are only two examples that show that we don’t always know a person’s story, and that it can be dangerous to make “everybody should” statements. Whether you agree or not with the measures taken by our government these past months, I recommend watching the interview I mention above. I found it provides solid examples of the dangers of “everyone should” mentality.

So, amid everything that’s happening in the world today, please live and let live. Observe the world around you and make a choice that is right for you. Please respect everyone else’s individual choice. Please share this message with anyone you feel would benefit.

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One thought on “You are not in my shoes and I am not in yours: thoughts about our current world situation

  • Tracy

    Hi Jean!
    I hope you and your husband are well
    Thank you for sharing your blog. I appreciate your openness I sharing your opinions and truths publically
    Unfortunately in times like these there are not enough of us doing this for “fear of the consequences” of not conforming.

    You are awesome!
    Blessings to you both
    Tracy