One constant in my life is that I have always valued others’ opinions of myself much more than my own. Events and situations in my past all look the same and end with the same lesson, because I apparently keep failing this class.
Luckily, it’s 2014, the clock finally struck “Grow the hell up” and I passed. Not with flying colors, so I may need a refresher course down the line, but I PASSED. So, for everyone in and out of my life: thank you for your positivity and your negativity. Thank you for ignoring me, for your harsh words, and your misunderstanding. Thank you for your unconditional love, unwavering belief in me, and your quality time.
How many times do we have to sit through this course where we learn not to allow others’ opinions define us? We are given example upon example, yet still don’t fully understand. Let me try to help you out one more time.
Remember the time where you did all the work and received no recognition? Or the moment all the recognition was yours, and no one around you was happy or excited for you? When everything you did right was a strike against a so-called friendship?
Remember that time you spent worrying about getting somewhere on time because it was really important to a friend? Did that happened a lot? Well remember how they either were late or didn’t show up, and you did not confront them or speak up about your disappointment? No? Well how about how you somehow made the situation your fault and invited yourself to a pity party? Is it a little less foggy now?
Well, do you remember the time when your feelings were stomped on by not one but every friend around you? How your thoughts were constantly belittled or ignored in discussion? Do you remember how low that made you feel? Because it was in these moments that you fostered the belief that you were not good enough, and everyone around you seemed to be doing it so much better than you.
Alright, now what about that time you did speak up. Remember how shocked and “hurt” everyone was? And then how hurt you were to realize that they did not appreciate your voice? How you suddenly became the issue, the failure? Remember how you tried to backtrack, but the “damage” was already done? Suddenly, you went from being part of a group to just one? Ahh, now you remember.
Well, let me also remind you of the moments of clarity you had. When you realized how free you felt when you just did things by yourself. When your enjoyment didn’t rely on someone else’s. Or that time you realized the true meaning of deflection, and how everyone around you was seriously a pro at it.
Let’s not forget the moment where you realized that people did not want you to be great. They just didn’t. Some still don’t. When you realized that, you missed out on enjoying all your accomplishments to the fullest because you were too focused on making the non-accomplished and unappreciative people in your life happy. The moment you realized this lesson would be one of the hardest to date, and you would theoretically lose a lot if you followed the lesson through. But as you watched them drop like flies, year after year, you realized something: every year got better, not worse.
Those moments where you thought it would be impossible to not have so-and-so in your life were a distant memory as you made fun, daring, and exciting changes. When speaking up became impossible to ignore, you could no longer just swallow your words or your emotions. When you realized you held all the power all along. And you realized you loved who you are, and who you will be, more than anything.
I’m glad you remember now. Let’s try not to forget again.