We like to believe we know what's best for those we love. Whether it's a child, loved one, or friend, we want to ensure that they live their best life. We believe that we understand people on some innate level; how they feel, what they think, and what they have experienced. This is especially true of our kids. But, it's impossible to understand another human being completely. After all, that is what makes us human; we are ever changing and our perceptions change every second that we are alive. This change is a gradual process. It starts with that feeling that sits deep within your chest, that poking in the back of your mind. That is what tells you, while you might not know what the change is, that you are changing and growing into the person you are meant to be.
This is why it's so important that when someone shares this change with you, that you don't just write off their feelings. It's a very unsettling feeling waking up one day and not being sure that you are who you are meant to be, or feeling like you are another person. That time of realization requires support and love from those around you, not fear that they may change their feelings about you because you are changing. We need to trust others that they know themselves and who they are, and not look at someone based on our perception of them. It doesn't matter if they are five or 25, everyone has a right and the ability to be the person that they are.
We are so quick to dismiss children when they don't know how to express how they are feeling, but instead try to show us, or explain it to us the best they can. They don't know how to articulate for themselves. Does that mean their feelings aren't valid? No. A child should never live in fear that they will be seen as crazy or unloved for expressing themselves. Even if it's something silly like they are going to live on Mars, if that's what your child feels is their purpose, then let them believe that, and support their interest. Send them to space camp, or let them have access to resources to learn about the universe. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, if a child feels like they are trapped in the wrong body, then you need to trust that they know who they are. Every person knows their body best.
It's also important to acknowledge that if you see parents or people who are supporting other's in their journey to becoming who they are, that you do not judge their process. Let parents dress their kids however they please. If they want to start hormonal treatment when medically appropriate, let them. If you see people encouraging other's that they can do whatever they want to do, no matter how silly or unlikely, let them. You would want the same courtesy if you were in their shoes.
We can never ever completely understand other people, no matter how hard we try or believe we can. You don't know what someone else could be going through, or what support they might need. Sometimes, the person doesn't even know what they need. And that's okay too. No one has to pretend they know everything or have all the answers, but as long as we respect and understand each other as people instead of categories, we can change and grow into the beautiful people that we are meant to be.