Worrying What Everyone Else Thinks About You Will Only Drag You Down

I think there comes a time in everyone’s life were we have to man the heck up and start living for ourselves.

I say this like I’m an expert, like I’m brilliant at being selfish or letting people go. Well I’m not. I’m the worst example of someone who’s lived life for themselves because I never let go of people.

Until now, I guess.

Recently I’ve stumbled upon one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met…and one of the most flawed. That’s the beauty of being genuine though: you see the flaws before you get to know the person. She grabbed me from the get go and is slowly coaxing selfish Harriet, strong Harriet, won’t take shit from no one or I’ll get ratchet on yo’ ass Harriet out of her shell, because current Harriet is drowning. Drowning in past mistakes and Thursday night expectations, in days when she feels like she’s 17 again and in nights when she stays up until 2am writing blog posts that remain drafts. Current Harriet is a little bit lost in the wilderness sometimes and it is, quite frankly, getting tedious.

I won’t say “love” is the reason behind this, because that’s stupid and cliched and we don’t tolerate mediocrity here, no siree, I would say “love” or at least the word and not the feeling directed at someone else is the reason behind all this.

It’s funny how words hurt, even if they’re positive and just not meant for you, even if they’re just monosyllabic in response to the speech you gave, even if they’re just strung together in a stupid hashtag that no one will read anyway. Words hurt.

My mom once told my dad off for teaching my brother the “sticks and stones rhyme”. I laughed when he told it to me, I thought it was the cleverest thing to say to someone trying to hurt you. “You can’t do anything to me because words don’t hurt me”.

“I won’t take a photo of you, you’ll break the camera.” “I don’t like you because you’re ugly.” “It’s definitely not your looks that are the problem, babe.” “I think you should stop relying so much on your metabolism.” “You’re not a responsible person.” “Oh my god, you’re such a freak.” “I tried to talk to her but she’s really weird.” “You must be the dumb one in your family because you’re studying English.” “How come whenever I see you, you don’t look very feminine?”

Don’t tell me those don’t hurt, that sticks and stones are worse than that. You can’t run away from the words of your past. No matter how hard you try not to let them become who you are, they do. Words — especially the ones that destroy — shape us.

But slowly, ever so slowly, you have to learn to let those words (and the people attached to them) go. Remember that tumbling stomach feeling and the way the confidence you spent months encouraging and protecting shattered with a couple of syllables. Remember that, remind yourself that you’ll never let yourself feel that way again, and then release.

Tell yourself every day the opposite of those words: beautiful, vibrant, healthy, independent, responsible, quirky, spunky, practical, smart, feminine. And then refuse to be forgotten, do it for the “wow, you got so hot!”; do it for the “You proved me wrong,” and the “I’m sorry I underestimated you.”

Find your own happiness and do it for yourself.

Stop worrying about how many people think you’re crazy, stop caring if nobody notices how amazing you are. You have to find your own happiness. I don’t care if you find it today or tomorrow or in the next 20 years after making a garbage dump’s worth of mistakes and being hurt by everybody you believed in who didn’t believe in you. Just find it.

I want to find mine. In some small way I think I have. Because sitting on a straight-backed wooden chair with a numb, bony ass at 2 o’clock in the morning, pontificating all over the internet makes me the happiest person awake right now.

And for once I know I’m not dumb or going to break any cameras, my personality is not the problem and being weird means I look at the world sideways which is so much more fun than having an average perspective on things. For once I am just me.

And I kind of love just me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Marcy Kellar

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