Last night I wrote this post about my journey of arriving in a place where I know who I am and what other people think of me doesn’t matter.
Because what other people think of me is none of my business.
And NOBODY is liked by EVERYBODY.
I often use cilantro as an example, but let’s use another one.
Let’s use music.
There are all different types of music.
There’s country and classical and rap and blues and hip hop and bluegrass and rock and heavy metal and new wave and jazz and reggae and all sorts of music.
Some people only like country music.
Some people only like rap.
Some people like all types of music.
For the people who love rap and the people who can’t stand it, the rap is still the same. The music, the lyrics… everything is still the same.
So the reason people don’t like rap isn’t the rap.
The rap is the same in both cases.
What’s different is the people.
People just have different tastes.
People are like music.
Some of us are loud, some are quiet. Some of us are flashy and some of us are reserved. Some of us use language with a bunch of four-letter words and some of us are g-rated.
And however we are, some people love us, and some people are totally annoyed by us.
The issue isn’t us.
The issue is the other people around us.
Some people like heavy metal. Some people don’t.
Some people like you. Some people don’t.
You might be country music to a person who only loves rap.
That’s just the way life works.
So when you tell someone you love country music when you really hate it, you are not being true to yourself.
You are, for whatever reason, trying to please another person.
You are telling them what you think they want to hear.
You are presenting yourself to other people as a fake version of yourself so they will like you or think differently about you.
What we all want is to be loved and appreciated for who we really are at our core.
When our core isn’t strong, when we feel like we aren’t good enough, when we are operating under the belief that we need to transform into rap music even though we are genuinely country music through and through, we do things that aren’t aligned with our true beliefs and we pretend to be someone we aren’t.
Maybe in doing so, we get someone to like us.
But they aren’t really liking us.
They are liking the fake version of ourselves we are creating so we can be liked be everyone.
And we are lying.
Eventually what happens is we get angry and resentful because we have spent all this time doing things we really don’t like or agree with.
Because we are more worried about making other people like us than we are about liking ourselves.
Moms do this stuff all the time.
We clean up after people and drive them around and make elaborate dinners and do crafts and agree to volunteer for things when we don’t really want to do them.
We do all the Christmas shopping or all the organizing or all the disciplining and we never say anything.
We repeatedly (and often silently) do things we are super resentful about doing because we are either doing what we think we should do or we are doing things for other people in the hopes of getting some appreciation from our spouses or our families.
It’s fine to do these things if you genuinely enjoy doing them.
But for many, many, many of us, we do these things hoping to be recognized for all we do.
In the process we neglect ourselves.
And that’s when we eventually have a complete freakout and spew out shit like, “DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH I DO FOR YOU????”
And you know what more than one member of my family has said back to me more than once?
I NEVER ASKED YOU TO DO THAT.
And they are right.
We so often do things we really don’t want to do for other people so they will like us and ultimately the only result is we get really, really, REALLY angry.
Not only do our needs or likes or interests remain unmet, but we have created a dynamic where people expect us to do things we don’t want to do or that we really don’t enjoy because that’s the fake version of ourselves we have presented to them for months. Or years.
Or a lifetime.
But it’s never too late to change.
With the members of my E-School (The Empowerment Experience membership group) we are currently working on personal mission statements.
The beliefs we have at our core. The values we build our lives around.
Some of the things in my mission statement?
I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not.
I own my mistakes.
I will never stop trying to improve myself.
I listen more than I speak.
When I have a personal mission statement to come back to, I remind myself that at the end of the day, the only person I have to please is myself.
And when I do that, there won’t be any internal turmoil. No anger. No resentment.
And as a result, my people, the ones who align with what I believe in, will appear in my life.
Because when you are true to your inner self, when you stop trying to please other people, your people will appear.
And consequently the exhaustion, frustration, and anger that accompanies pretending to be someone you aren’t will disappear.
And that’s when life really starts to get good.