I used to always let people get the best of me. I’ve been easily offended and easily hurt by the things that people said or did to me. I used to take everything to heart and dissect every word that’s ever been said to me. I used to let those words define who I am. That is until I finally realized that it didn’t really matter. Those people didn’t matter. Who I am isn’t contingent upon the definitions that other people place upon me.
One of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson goes, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
I do think that it is a remarkable thing to allow yourself to be completely honest and completely exposed to those around you. But, I think the scariest part about allowing ourselves to be who we truly are is that it makes us vulnerable to others and their opinions. Because when we’re stripped down to our true selves, there is nothing to hide behind. And we fear rejection of acceptance.
But I don’t know why we let the things that people say or do affect how we see ourselves. I don’t know why we try to change who we are to fit into places that we don’t belong.
Our culture and society have put norms in place to dictate how we should look and act. These norms have been put in place in order to tell us that we can or cannot amount to a certain profession or standard of living unless we do or act “x, y, and z“
But, if who we are is not good enough to fill those roles, then why do we even pursue it at all? Just because we are told to do so?
We are told by countless peers – our family, our friends, our teachers, our bosses, our significant others – that we must go in a certain direction in order to be successful.
But is that what you want? Is that who you are? Is that what will make you happy?
People will always tell us what they think. But those thoughts are not our own, so why dilute those thoughts with ours? At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what people think of you, it only matters what you think of yourself.