Minding your own business is something I got told to do a lot when I was a kid, probably because I was not minding my own business. I am better at it these days, but sometimes I think being a therapist is a spectacular way to find out all the business that is going on in the world these days.
Lately, I’ve become a big fan of the phrase. Mostly I employ it to chastise judge-y people. Like, a lovely girl I knew growing up who was pregnant before she got engaged. Hurray! Babies! Oh, wait, sex outside of marriage is against the teachings of the church? Mind your own business!
Or my other friend, who gets into a lot of frisky business, which other people like to speculate about, and not in a ‘get it girl’ kind of a way- Mind your own business!
I have found it to be a really effective way to shut those kinds of conversations down. A lot of judge-y people do not want to get caught running their mouths about other people’s business.
That being said, there is the other side of ‘mind your own business’, which is less about not hassling other people who are just doing their funky thing, and more about reinforcing the status quo.
I don’t know if you guys have met the status quo, but the status quo is bad news bears for pretty much everybody involved. Most social justice movements arose from people disrupting the status quo.
And this could be about really big things, like folks agitating to start a union (when upper management would likely tell them to get back to their business of working, as opposed to minding the bigger business of their collective quality of life.) It could be about small things in your life that look like things like washing dishes or getting interrupted in a conversation or getting shut down, again. They are actually about big things like how You Get To Have An Opinion and It Is Not Actually Your Job To Do Everything and How Most People Know Enough Not To Use Awful Words But Can Still Be Super Duper Racist.
So I offer you both sides. Mind your own business! It’s not a bad idea! Except when it clearly isn’t. Contradiction! Complexity! Congratulations, you get both.