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My Interests Don’t Need Your Approval

And Yours Don’t Need Mine


“I can elect something I love and absorb myself in it.” 

― Anaïs Nin


The world is full of people. A lot. At last count, it was over 7.6 billion. And we all have varied interests, passions, pleasures, and hobbies. Things which bring us joy and activities which make us happy and fulfilled.

Some of those interests will overlap with others. If you’ve read some of my writing, you know I love to run, and there are plenty of others in the world who love to run. It’s a passion of mine. It brings me pleasure (and pain sometimes). I’m happier because of running.

There are also many who hate running. It’s not for them. Whatever the reason, they don’t like it so they don’t do it. They probably have other interests and passions which differ completely from mine.

I would never want to climb Mount Everest because I do not see the appeal. It seems like it would not be fun at all, I would freeze my ass off, I’d have to pay a ton of money to do it, and I may die. No, thank you. Hard pass. But there are many who would jump at the chance to do it.

There are also people who have interests which are rare or aren’t considered “mainstream.” And to be honest, I don’t really understand why people have some of the interests they do, including wanting to climb Mount Everest. But it doesn’t matter if I don’t understand it or not. It’s not up to me to decide what people should like. You don’t need my approval to do something you love, and I don’t need yours.

Because we should do whatever makes us happy. Even if it goes against the “norm” and even if others think it’s a little “strange.”

interests
Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

I read a comment the other day which was making fun of someone who likes to re-enact historical battles. In doing so, people get dressed up in the attire of whatever battle they are depicting and recreate aspects of that battle. For some, it’s a hobby, and for others, it’s a passion.

It doesn’t sound like something I would be interested in and I may not understand the appeal, but I never feel the need to make fun of other people’s interests. I never think I’m so much better than someone that I have to demean or put others down because of what they like or do.

It’s absurd.

Why do we care so much about what other people like? What purpose does it serve to make fun of others who pursue hobbies different from ours? Interests which may differ from what is “normal?”

There is no excuse. None. As long as they aren’t harming anyone, let it be.

Because here is what’s important — that one thing such as reenacting historical battles may be the only thing they have. It may be what is keeping that person together. They may live for those days when they get to put on a show and be with other people.

And when you make fun or ridicule someone for pursuing their interests, you might affect that person in ways you can’t know. They may never do it again for fear of being mocked.

interests
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Words are powerful. They can have an enormous impact on people even if those words are from someone you don’t know. Just as a positive word can uplift someone, a negative word can break them.

Life is hard for many and loneliness is rampant in our society. Sometimes all people have are their hobbies and interests to keep them going. It gets them out of their depression. It helps them with the anxiety so many of us experience. It keeps their thoughts busy and not on all their problems.

It could be what’s keeping them alive.

I know that sounds a little dramatic, but think about it for a second because it’s important. Maybe not to you, but I bet it is to that person you are about to ridicule and mock.

So the next time you feel the need to make fun of other people’s interests, take a step back and think why you are doing it. Think about the impact you can have on someone else’s life in the words you say and the actions you take. Take time to try to understand their point of view.

Because your words and actions will say more about you than it does about them.

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