Just a Phase

"It's just a phase."

This is something a lot of people say to a lot of other people. Atheist? "It's just a phase." Activist? "It's just a phase." Doing something that doesn't fit in with the social norm? "It's just a phase."

I won't ask your permission to get angry. I won't ask your forgiveness for getting angry. I'll just get angry. And why? Because saying "it's just a phase" is a perfect way to invalidate someone's choices, choices that take a person out of the bounds of "normality", outside of somebody else's expectations, by implying that they have no rational basis for their decisions and that they'll soon be conforming to what society wants.

By saying "it's just a phase", you are effectively saying "I know what you want better than you do, and what you want falls in line with my desires". You are overriding a person's right and ability to make a decision for themselves. And all because their decision...well, it isn't normal, it isn't the done thing, it unsettles the common folk a little. That's right, you are assuming someone can't decide for themselves because their decision upsets you.

I could go on at length about this; I could go on about the prejudice it shows and how it strips away the claims to goodness that most people make. But I won't, because I try not to be a moralising, self-righteous twat.

If a person makes a decision that upsets you - guess what? Unless it directly affects other people (e.g. going on a mass-murdering spree), it's none of your business. None whatsoever. If a person makes a decision that deviates from the norm in a profound way, they've probably thought long and hard about it. They do not need or want this slap in the face; they do not need or want to be told that their decision is a fleeting phase and that they can't make choices for themselves.

People are autonomous. If you can't or won't see that, that's your problem. Not theirs.