“Not everyone will like you, and not everyone will appreciate the person you are, and that’s okay.”
These are words I wish I could follow in my teenage years, so that I’d grow up with a thicker skin and not be this sensitive, and not care whether people liked me or not. Unfortunately, although I grew up in a wonderfully happy household, my school years were the worst. I was bullied every single day, and told off for being bigger built than the rest, i.e. I was fat so no one should be my friend. That had such a huge impact on my life to the point that I was always trying to validate myself and make people like me.
Well, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize, why should I care what other people think? The world is filled with people who are quick to point your flaws, and look at the worst version of you – without actually getting to know you. They will forget anything good you’ve done in a matter of seconds, just because nobody remembers the good, and always remembers that one tiny ‘bad’ thing you did. Those people, they’re the negative ones you don’t need to please, at all.
So, why are we trying to validate ourselves to people who don’t really care?
It’s a question I keep asking myself. Why do I want Jemma from my high school who was popular Nancy’s sister to like me when she sees me at our school reunion? Why do I want Sally, my colleague from HR to think I am an awesome person in the hopes she’ll invite me out with her friends for post-work drinks? It was questions like these that kept buzzing in my brain because I was seeking approval “You’re okay, come sit with us” kind of thing, that eventually my sole focus became about everyone liking and approving of me, rather than having my own individual identity.
I harbored so much insecurity growing up that the minute someone thought I was worthy enough to be their ‘friend’, I’d felt like I had arrived. That someone out there really wanted to hang out with me of all people. How lame is that, really? How many of these people actually care if you’re a good person or not? Probably one or two, but the rest, ah, they can sense insecurity a mile away and find ways to feed off it. They can sense you’re a people-pleaser, they can sense you’re too eager and it’s good for them to take advantage of you – do you want them to be your friends? The only thing that it’s doing is more harm than good. And not to the people we’re trying to please, but to you, your mental well-being and your happiness.
I realized I was losing my own identity in order to ‘fit in’.
How could I maintain a healthy, happy life, and have good, solid friendships if the only thing I was doing was adjusting myself to suit others? I was never the true version of myself because I was constantly changing and adjusting and holding back, that I had begun to lose sight of who I really was. I had to actually take a step back and reflect on what I was doing and I realized, that I didn’t know myself anymore. And that’s when something in me snapped. I was being someone I was not and it was because I wanted every single person in this world to think I was awesome – and I was trying too hard. Happy realization indeed.
Showing my true self has in a way been a blessing – some friendships were solidified and grew stronger, while others moved away, which meant they only liked the version of me that suited them. And that’s OK.
In life, you will not be someone’s cup of tea, and you shouldn’t care. You be your genuine true self, and if a person cannot appreciate that, or cannot like that, they aren’t going to be your friend even if you try and force them. And who wants a friendship that is forced? You’ll realize that you can’t use your humor, you can’t make those kind of inappropriate jokes that they will appreciate, and basically you’ll be adjusting your personality to suit them – and will be walking on eggshells whilst talking to them -Ask yourself, is it really worth the stress and the drama?
I don’t let others opinion of me dictate how I should behave.
This was one thing I was always doing. CONSTANTLY. Every time someone had an opinion of me that wasn’t ‘good’ I would immediately ponder and ruminate over it and over analyze it to the point it drove me bat-shit crazy. And then I’d allow that dictate my actions and behavior. What for? That person just needed a minute to say something bad about me, and knowing fully well it would affect me, said it. Sadistic little bastard I tell you. And this was a recurring pattern. Even with my ex partner. I realized I had lost most of my real self because of all the things he said to me that he ‘disapproved’ of. And I looked pitiful, to say the least. Alright, bygones. Moving on.
Of course, we do get conscious of what others think of us at times but allowing that to dictate who you are is where the trouble starts. It creeps into you, you start thinking about it and then you start over-thinking and then it affects so many of your relationships that you’ve already built. We all want change in our lives, but changing so that others opinions of you change, so that they like you more, how is that even, healthy?
Being the person you are, and validating yourself to only YOU is all that matters. No one else does. not Jemma or her sister Nancy, not Sally not anyone. They’re people who come and go in your life and they will eventually forget about you. Let the idea of everyone liking the idea of you go, be carefree. Be you, be fierce, be the person you always were and the ones that take to you, will always have your back, and be your real ‘squad’.
Have a fabulous week.