Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.
Yesterday, I listened to the We Can Do Hard Things podcast’s latest episode: Easy Fridays: Trick or Treat.
As it’s this time of year, they talked about Halloween and towards the end of the episode pointed out, that people should be aware that there are neurodiverse kids who might not be able to wear costumes, or look older, or are older, and still love to go trick or treating and enjoy the rituals and fun – and should not be excluded or shamed.
It broke my heart a little to think that there are people who needed to hear this. It made me sad to think that anyone would judge a child who goes trick or treating and tell them they are too old or too big, or not dressed up enough.
I feel so much pain, restriction and overwhelm in this.
So many people take on so much more responsibility than they have to.
Why do we feel responsible to decide or able to judge who deserves a treat when someone comes to our door? Not just on Halloween, but any time, really?
I remember someone telling me that they don’t give money to homeless people, begging on the streets because they were just going to buy drugs from the money and they didn’t want to support that.
If people want or need drugs, they will get them no matter what. Who are we to judge, though? Do we really know that, or just assume?
What assumptions do we make when we send away a child because it’s too big or old or not dressed up? That they want to trick us into giving them candy even though they don’t rightfully deserve it? That they would eat and enjoy it, even though they are too old? Maybe I should go trick or treating. Perhaps we all should, if that’s what we want.
Why do we judge people who are homeless, who ask for money, or who we perceive as too old to go trick or treating or simply live differently from how we live or are different from how we are?
I think it’s because of an insecurity about our own choices and also because we feel like we have to give up so much every day, to live the lives we live, so we judge other people who dare to make different choices and in doing so, hold the mirror up to us, but instead of looking in, we push them away the same way we would push away uncomfortable thoughts when they come up.
If we happily and consciously choose to live the way we want to, not how we are conditioned by society or culture, if we don’t feel like we’re responsible for the happiness, well-being or suffering of anyone else but ourselves (and our kids and pets until they learn how to regulate themselves and live their own lives) we don’t have to judge anyone because we know it’s not our place.
Our place is only to come to terms with our own choices and demons.
There is nothing we can do to change the situation of a homeless person, unless they want us to and unless we agree, and we start to build a relationship with them and find out what it is that they want or need (and not assume, or think about what they should have or how they should be).
Yet, we can always choose to be kind and respectful, no matter the choices the other person makes, or whether we agree with them or not.
If they are asking for money and we have some, I actually think it’s our responsibility to share and be generous. Maybe not even for them, but for ourselves because the giving without asking for anything back or controlling what is happening with what we give will make our hearts expand.
If we send away any child, no matter how they look because they don’t match our expectations, we can break so much in them, but also in ourselves.
We have the choice to either judge, dismiss, be sceptical, feel cheated or to be generous and open-hearted. Just think about which choice will let you sleep better at night. What’s the worst thing that could happen in this case, really?
That someone who looks different than you expected enjoys your candy?
I wonder if there was any stranger showing up at our door for Halloween asking for candy, would we really send them away? How can this ever be about age or what they are wearing?
They wouldn’t come, if they didn’t need the candy, or at least think they did.
We can make rules for ourselves, according to our budget, like having a limit to how much we give per child, or, if money is a problem, also decide not to give anything at all.
But no matter what we do, we can always do it with kindness and a generous heart. For them and for ourselves as well.
I wish you a happy Halloween and a warm and open welcome to the darker days with all the demons they might bring up.
We soothe the little human Halloween daemons with candy.
We can soothe our internal ones, when we meet them with the same kind of love and joy and kindness, no matter if we like them or not.
If you’d like to learn how to free yourself from judging others, join the I AM CREATOR School.