As mentioned in my first post, life is unfair, but it is up to you how you go about it. For me, I choose to pull it through and play the cards at hand the best I could.
In this part 2 (a total of 6), I have learnt that it is through interaction with people that you learn to grow and evolve yourself to become a compassionate, wiser being. Not to say that you cannot discover wisdom when you are alone, but sometimes through people, you discover answers you may not have uncovered on your own. Here’s what I’ve learnt after meeting an assortment of people in my life.
On What/How Other People Think of You:
EVERYONE will have an opinion about you. We’ve accumulated millions of spoken and unspoken messages from our families, communities, religions and cultures, telling us what we must do, be, think and feel in order to be loved, accepted and approved.
When I was younger, I used to be concerned of what others think because I don’t want to be left out. I wanted their friendship, so in order to connect with them, we think and talk alike on most subjects together. After a while, our likings for certain trends changed, so we grew apart. When I went through this with different groups of friends, I realised that what I think about myself is more important than what others think about me. Each of us have our own lives to follow through. They cannot be you, and you cannot be them. For this reason, taking the decision to quit being afraid of what others think is not a one-time act, but an ongoing spiritual discipline.
Sometimes our need for others to tell us we are okay is so subtle and pervasive it can be both difficult and frightening to recognize it in ourselves. Here are a few scenarios I observed from people that might be relatable to you:
- You are hurt by a friend’s degrading comment but you kept quiet because you don’t want to ruin the friendship and be thought of as touchy or irritable.
- Your family wants you to invite their relatives to your upcoming wedding. The thing is, you have not seen them almost your entire life. You don’t feel like it, but you extended the invitation anyway. You don’t want to face your family or your in-laws disapproval, or worse, they harping on this issue for years to come.
- You haven’t changed your hairstyle for more than 10 years because your spouse is against you changing your physical appearance. Yet you resented how much time you spend maintaining the same look for so long, that you yearn for freedom to change.
There comes a time, when you feel that you have pleased others long enough. Your heart and gut feeling will tell you what to do next. So, when you are given an opportunity to speak for yourself, do stand up for what you believe is right, but still be respectful to others. There will be a few rotten apples who will begrudge you for being strong. But then again, it is their problem, not yours. The mature ones will be supportive of you and you will gain their respect instead.
Cheers to all.