Did you ever watch the show Recess? It’s this cartoon about a group of kids in elementary school who have this little gang, and they do stuff at, well… recess. It was so great. There was this one episode where TJ (the leader of the “gang”) found out that there was a kid that just didn’t like him. So the entire episode followed TJ trying to win this kid over by pulling this Mission Impossible crap to get the kid out of detention; and at the end of the day the kid is still like, “Yeah I really don’t like you. I don’t know why. I just don’t.” And TJ just shrugs and brushes it off finally, learning to accept that not everyone is going to like him and it’s not necessarily his fault - just a part of life. Great, right? Remember when kids TV was good like that? That’s a freaking important lesson to learn. I didn’t learn it till a few years ago. And TJ was doing that in grade freaking four.
Well, the reason I bring it up is because I’ve been thinking about how one of my friend’s parents just didn’t like me, and it really hurt my feelings back in the day. I felt so betrayed. What wasn’t there to like about me? I was always super nice and I was polite and I was funny. Like, what did I even do to them to make them say they didn’t like me? It made me feel so helpless, and I felt I had been unjustly wronged. It was even worse because these were parents! They were supposed to know stuff about stuff. What did it say about me that these adults just had a thing against me? In hindsight, it’s a good thing that it happened because I learned that it shouldn’t matter what they thought. I did my best and presented myself well and was kind and whatever else - and they still didn’t like me. Oh well. Move on. Accept that what these people thought was not what defined me as an individual. And it’s a good thing I learned that because now I have several people telling me how much I suck on a daily basis! Oh internet.
My point is: no matter what anyone says about you, you don’t have to be the person they think you are. You don’t have to think about yourself the way others think about you. You don’t have to be who your friends’ parents think you are. You don’t have to be who your parents think you are. You get to try to be whomever you like, and if a few people along the way don’t like you, well that’s fine. Whatever. That’s life. However, the real problem arises when a lot of people think you are a certain way and you maintain that you’re not that way, despite the fact that almost everyone you know has this similar opinion about you. It’s easy to just say YOU DON’T KNOW ME and slam the door, but if a large majority of people who are close to you think something - they probably have somewhat of a reason to think that. It’s not wrong to feel scared or trapped by your negative qualities, but this doesn’t give you an excuse to pretend that they’re not there. You get to be who you want, but you should be the best you that you can manage. And this always means grinding against the grain to be better.
Look at me and all my inspiring speeches today. Sigh.