A little while ago I read something that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. Here it is:
"There will always be someone who doesn't like you especially if you are following your path - your dreams. In fact, if you are a person that everyone likes then you probably haven't stepped into your destiny yet. It is through trial and persecution - through the fire - that we are refined into pure gold. The hotter the fire the better ... So remember that next time it feels like the world is against you. It's all part of the purification of your heart and it means you are on the right spiritual journey. Have faith - it's going to be FANTASTIC."
Kerri Verna (@beachyogagirl)
In case you don't know her, Kerri is the co-host of the yoga challenges on Instagram I participate in every month. She is a yoga teacher with a huge following on Instagram (over 869,000 people), and she often posts bits of inspiration and wisdom.
The reason why I can't get it out of my head is that I can't decided if I agree with it or not. Well, to be perfectly honest, I already know that I do - but I have a hard time applying it to my own life.
Here is the thing: I'm a pushover. Concerned about what others think of me, worried that they might disapprove, I'd rather give in than stand my ground. And I hate that. Whenever I'm writing something - be it for my work newsletter, my book, or this blog - I think about how others might perceive it. I'm worried about offending someone. I want to be liked by everyone. Especially online. Why the approval of strangers is so important to me is something I can't explain - that would be a good question for a shrink, if I had one. I don't. Yet?
In my real life there are people I don't like and who don't like me - and I'm fine with that. Well, as long as it's mutual. And I really don't care about them. There are a few I desperately want to be liked by - and I don't know if I am. That's the stuff that keeps me hooked on my happy pills*.
*Anti-depressants. Say no to (street) drugs, kids! Pharmaceuticals are okay.
The rational part of me knows that we can't be liked by everyone. But the irrational (i.e. 99% of my brain) wants approval. Praise. Likes and hearts and 'atta-girl!'s.
At 35-and-three-quarters years old I should really have gotten over that by now. But it's something I still struggle with.
Whenever I see the fire Kerri talks about (the quote I started with, remember?), I keep away from it as much as I can.
(And I love fire.)
I want to, need to change that. Grow some balls, finally. Be brave. Not in a jumping-out-of-airplanes kinda way, but in a know-what-you-are-about-and-stand-up-for-yourself kinda way. Much harder, if you ask me.
What it comes down to is that if you always give in, you don't value yourself as much as other people. You don't think your opinion is as important as theirs.
You doubt yourself, for the simple reason that other people seem to be so full of themselves, and you believe there must be a reason for it - they know better than you.
They don't. They stand up for themselves, not because they know better, but because they believe their opinion matters. They matter.
And they do. But so do you! And I, and all of us who give in way too easily, just to keep peace. Sometimes, keeping the peace is not a sign of "the smarter person gives in", as my parents taught me - but an act of cowardice.
I want to be braver. I want to do the thing that scares me the most: To stand up for myself. To stop censoring myself. It ain't gonna be easy. But it will be worth it.
Are you a brave warrior? Tell me your tricks.
Are you a perpetual worrier? You and me both, sister. But we can get braver together!