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March 22, 2024

Don't 'Yuck' Their 'Yum'

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A beautiful thing in life is how different each of us are. One person loves a food that the next person is disgusted by. One person is at their best doing things one way, and another is at their best doing it another way. This is something that should be celebrated and encouraged because diversity is a rich source for innovation.

However, with the limited perspective we have experiencing life through our own lens, at times we can find ourselves projecting our own preferences on others. We assume that our way or recommendation is correct because it’s correct for us. And when we care about something, we want to be helpful and try to improve it. But our way of doing that is often by making it similar to how we want it rather than what’s right.

An expression that touches on this, that I heard from my friend Lina that I love is “Don’t yuck their yum” meaning, if someone finds something else delicious, don’t tell them it’s not. If someone has a certain set of preferences about how they like things, don’t take that from them and tell them it’s wrong. 

If we do, then we’re invalidating their sense of self and disrespecting their uniqueness. We’re telling them that what they want or think is right doesn’t matter in our eyes, and that we know what’s better for them than they do. Clearly, that’s not a supportive thing to do.

Don’t ‘yuck’ their ‘yum’.

And the best way to do that is to approach things with curiosity. Rather than judging how things are and having assumptions about it, explore the context around it and seek to understand. When you see where they’re coming from you’re in a much better position to accept their perspective and find ways to be supportive within the context that has been outlined to you.

Ultimately, wanting to impose our preferences onto others is driven by the ego. It’s our own desire to maintain our self-image and validate our own worthiness that causes us to discredit other people’s preferences. But with tools and awareness that we build through our self-growth, we can show up as a better supporter to those we care about most.

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