Beauty in self-acceptance
As you may have already gathered from my “Introverted People-pleasing Artist” series, as a child, and even as a young adult, I was always trying to define myself; unsure about who I was, and often questioned if I was ever good enough…
Good enough for other people to like me, good enough to be successful, to find a future partner…
And this insecurity would grow deep roots with every friend that left me without a fight, and every time circles of friends closed their circles off to me.
As a contemplative person, I would always analyze my every thought, word, and action leading up to these obvious displays of rejection. Because it had to have been something I did. I must have somehow deserved the oust.
And oftentimes, I would find what I thought I did wrong - would preach it to the mountains, run after my friends to apologize - to say I didn’t realize - only to get blank, uncaring stares, with no reply but the backs of their heads as they would turn back around.
Leaving me perplexed, rejected, scorned, humiliated.
As I have grown up, similar situations have arisen, but these days, I am aware of the nuances of human relationships that I will never understand..
Sometimes people just dispose of friendships much like when they dispose of their old jeans that don’t fit right anymore. You become out of touch with their new lifestyle…Or maybe they just never connected with you, the way you thought you were connected. Perhaps they are entering a new season of life…
Not everything others do, is about you, right?
Nevertheless, I am always judging what I did, what I should have done.
It is exhausting.
And then there are those that openly critique you for further analysis!
Because of my nature, I try to take advice and would take all forms of critique quite seriously. Even if the advice came from people who openly hated me. I felt, who knows your faults more than your enemies??
But at the same time, in constantly trying to improve, I would forget that those who hate me, probably just want to hurt me. Yes, those type of people exist: people who lie and say things just to hurt you! lol
I would forget to give myself a break, and love myself for who I am, because try as I might, I may never get it right…
And those who really love me? They’re going to learn to deal with it, and love me as I am too.
Yes, this introverted people-pleasing artist said it: deal with it.
I am very opinionated, I have a lot of accumulated knowledge (from my knowledge hoarding). And I am out to share it. I am also out to ask questions and learn about you and what knowledge you have gathered!
This is who I am. You can either engage with me, or not.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I plan to mindlessly go about life doing whatever I please. I want to be mindful, speak and engage with intention, keep growing, changing. I want to be better.
I just can’t attach that with my own self-worth.
I have to stop thinking to myself that because I am not perfect, I don’t deserve to be loved!
There are plenty of people who are jerks to their receptionists, never tip, don’t care about their moms, and hey, they have friends!
I’ve learned that with every interaction we have, there are 2 ways to interpret what the other person says. You can either assume they are good, and mean well, or assume they are mean, and want to offend you.
I’ve noticed life is more pleasant when you assume the former; that people are generally good and mean well. They mean to teach or share their thoughts. Yes, they have biases and faults - and so do I.
Plus, guess which option is commonly the “correct” version?
And even if it is the latter - does it really matter or change anything for you to feel bad or take offense if that’s what they meant to do anyway?
Isn’t it better to live life assuming no one is out to get you, and leave it at that?
Imagine a world where we just accept the crazy man on 5th who says his fair share of offensive things, but gives money and food to the poor beggar on the street? Or the neighbor who hates your religion, but is trying her best to raise good, smart, healthy children that are kind? Or the neighbor who always tells you how you’re doing it “wrong” but would give you her last dozen eggs if you needed them. The grouchy old man who would do anything to protect you and your children?
And I don’t mean tolerate. Accept, and will them good, for their own sake. In other words: love.
So perhaps in this era of so much virtual connectedness, it’s time we foster real, tangible connection, as we love others at face value. Accept their advice and quirks, so when it’s our turn, they can do the same…