”I think of life as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself & so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”
Whatever you do? Don’t ever apologize for being you!
It has taken me most of my adult life to even consider that no matter what the opinions of others are with regards to me (on any level) in actual fact are absolutely…
None of my business!
Now I can hear people saying ”what? of course it is!” BUT…
In all honesty I can truthfully say and with conviction that it really isn’t.
Of course whilst it’s always nice when someone takes time out of their day to compliment you in some way be it; how nice you look, congratulating you on a job well done or praising you in public and indeed will often do wonders for your self-esteem, it’s crucial to stay well grounded and realize that more than likely there will be another who would be all too willing to proffer a negative counterbalancing opinion.
For instance during a particularly difficult period some months ago I was struggling on many levels; stress, insomnia & health issues all serving to ensure that for a time I wasn’t ”at the top of my particular game.” One day I was due to meet friends for lunch and spurred on by my innate need for punctuality was as usual first to arrive. The first of my two friends followed me in & after the usual hugs & perfunctory comments about the weather et al she looked me straight in the eye and said ” my God you look awful, how long is it since you’ve been to sleep” a brief conversation ensued as to why, how long etc. When the second friend arrived just minutes later she immediately proclaimed ”wow, you look so much better than last time I saw you.” I laughingly pointed out that our mutual friend had just commented to the opposite effect.
My point here is simply that, among friends, on the same occasion and just minutes apart, even people we know & love can & do form instant opinions about us based purely on having interpreted what they saw. Now obviously this example is very safe in that both opinions although differing came from a place of love and as such didn’t serve in any way to make me feel threatened, undermined or worse still unworthy.
However if we take the basic lesson learned here – being that thoughts form a view or judgement about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Then it becomes easy (at least it did for me) to de-personalize how, what, why someone, indeed anyone could or would want, to even think let alone speak or write about me in any manner even if it were complimentary (but that’s a whole new conversation about self-esteem!) because lets face it to put it in its simplest terms anything said about you is either a fact or untrue!
If someone states as fact – ”You are Italian” – there is absolutely nothing to be done except to agree. However if someone were to form say an exaggerated (hyperbole) opinion ” You are a fat, lazy Italian because you eat too much pasta” – which may or may not be either true and/or taken literally then you are faced with the age-old dilemma of choice. Do you become outraged, feel insulted, embarrassed or even moved to tears as you recoil from the rhetoric? Or do you choose to acknowledge that as ill-informed & potentially hurtful as it was, it was no more than the view of another and as such can have as much or as little impact on you as you allow it to.
For me the really, really liberating experience of knowing that I can control and thus either limit the negative impact or allow the positive impact to enhance my life was the pivotal moment when I truly understood that:
I am in charge of my thoughts, my emotions & my reactions especially when it comes to taking on board that I may or may not measure up to the expectations which others have of me. In short I can choose how, if at all to react. If I am indeed ” a fat, lazy Italian who eats too much pasta” (sincere apologies for the sweeping generalization used here) then I have decisions to make.
Whatever the circumstances you have to ask yourself
‘‘What difference to my life and to me as a person would it make if ………..
………and would I be happy with that? You fill in the blanks to fit your own circumstances.
The thing to consider and in my experience the only thing which really matters is that when making these decisions you should always, always strive to be yourself. It may well be that like me, you have along the way actually & often by default lost sight of ”who you really are.”
In my case I became a caricature of what I thought people wanted to see. I hid behind a very carefully constructed barrier over which I projected an image that even I began to see as the real me. Before long anything & everything I did or said reinforced what I later came to call my ”fake self image” I didn’t know it then but I was in hiding, hiding from the ”reality” of how people would react, treat, question me if they were allowed to ”see the real me”.
In truth I came to learn that Dr Suess was indeed spot on with the statement:
”Those who matter don’t mind whereas those who mind don’t matter.”
It was a time of enormous enlightenment for me and the lessons I learned along the way will stay with me for ever. I now know that by living in denial of who we really are we are not only doing ourselves a great disservice but we also at times severely underestimate those closest to us.
So as you strive to be true to yourself please consider the following;
Never try to hide who you really are for you are enough.
You, your past & your present in fact everything that has ever happened to you will shape your future and there were reasons for all of it. When you learn from what has gone before there can be no mistakes and therefore regret is a waste of time.
Always stand up for what you believe in because you have a right to be heard.
By all means listen to the opinions of others but unless they can prove otherwise they are always just that. The only way you will ever engender the respect of others is by showing them that above all else you respect yourself.
Most importantly, be who you want to be.
Do your thing, never apologize for being you & remember;
WHOEVER & WHATEVER YOU ARE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH IF YOU’RE
Because TRULY the opinions of others REALLY are NONE of YOUR business!!!