A few weeks ago, a “friend” of mine read one of my FB posts, followed the comments, and then sent me this message via inbox:
You be so fake in your comments.
Or something like that. I can’t give a direct quote because after we conversed, I deleted the message. His unsolicited opinion bothered me that night. It stuck with me because of how I’d replied. Initially, I defended myself. I wanted to show him that I wasn’t being “fake.” It continued to irk me because I’ve worked so hard to be my authentic self no matter where I am, social media, in person, wherever. I’ve made conscious decisions to shine my personal light. Then, it bothered me because it bothered me. Have you ever felt like that?
It lingered in my thoughts for about 48 hours. By that time, I knew I had to remove him and his words from my consciousness. They were both taking up too much space in my mind. That Sunday night, I flipped through don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, until I found the one that fit: Don’t take anything personally.
If I see you on the street and say, “You are so stupid” without knowing you, it’s not about you, it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you’re stupid.”
After reading a few more pages, I meditated, sipped my lavender tea, and let go of the incident.
About a week later, one of the ladies from the book club I’m hoping to join reached out to me and said, “I like your spirit.” This comment elicited the opposite emotion. I was elated. Who doesn’t want to hear nice things said about her personality? And like I’d mentioned above, I’ve worked on portraying my true self. So, I was overjoyed that someone I’d just met noticed a positive trait.
But I had to remember agreement #2. It still applied. You see, Ruiz continues to explain that even if someone says something that you agree with, then there’s still no reason to take it personally. A person’s opinion, whether positive or negative, is based on how that person feels in that moment. Tomorrow, the same person might have something horrible to say.
The first time I read this it didn’t quite click. After receiving two different opinions within a week of one another, it now makes perfect sense. Not only is taking other people’s opinions personally exhausting, it can also be an indication that you’re not secure with who you are. If I know that I’m an authentic person, with a great spirit, then others’ opinions should be neither denigrating, nor uplifting. They should just…be.
Let me know what you think. How do you deal with other people’s opinions of who you are? Do people offer opinions of your personality?
*Edited for Forgiving Fridays. Participate here: https://forgivingconnects.com/2017/05/05/todays-forgiving-fridays-i-have-a-question-3/comment-page-1/#comment-3373
When you know better, you do better, and when you do better, you have some semblance of clarity. You know yourself, and you no longer walk the fine line of being one type of person in public and an entirely different one in private. You learn that it’s either okay that you speak from your heart, or it’s not. You learn that people will be comfortable with who you are, or they will not. Either scenario is fine.
When you know better, you do better, and when you open your eyes and begin to see other people for who they are, instead of who you want them to be, then you can truly choose. You can choose to highlight the excellent parts. You can continue to allow the bad parts into your space and energy. Or you can determine if the good outweighs the bad. You can decide with whom you want to engage and how.
When you know better, you do better, and when you do better, you accept better. What is better for you? Is it a better job that is aligned with your passion and skillset? Is it a better relationship that mirrors your values? Is it a better home that reflects who you are? Whatever “it” is, when you know better, you’ll feel what’s best and draw it into your life. There will be no choice; like attracts like.
And when you do these things altogether: be your true self, see others for who they are, and accept better circumstances, then you can live a more peaceful life.
But first you have to know better.
Happy New Year good people! Are you making any changes this year? Will you continue walking a similar path because it’s working for you? Feel free to share; you never know who you might meet right here in these comments. As for me, I’ll be publishing another book and focusing positive feelings towards the type of educational setting that’s right for me.
*inspired by Maya Angelou
About two years ago, I created this kwote. If you’ve been following my blog, even for a little while, then you know this is one of my personal mantras: Live your life, unapologetically. People generally agree with this sentiment. I mean really, not many disagree that following your heart and doing what you want with your life is a positive way to function.
The challenge comes when it’s other people’s lives. Sometimes, we want the freedom to be and live how we want, but we want to confine and judge the choices that other people make about their own lives.
Allow people to live their lives unapologetically.
I’m not exempt from this. Sometimes I get the urge to share some sage wisdom I learned when I was in a similar situation. I can see the “missteps” people make with jobs, relationships, or children because I’ve been there before. Or have I? I have children, but I’ve never been a single parent. I’ve been married for 20 years, but my marriage is set up quite differently than other married couples’.
How can I advise someone of next steps when they are a different person, with his or her own experiences, living in a different time period? I cannot. And I usually do not. Any friend or family member gets the same answer if they ask me what they should do about fill-in-the-blank: You already know what to do.
Let that sink in for a moment. You already know what to do.
For me, this is true for everyone. I know it may feel better to ask three or four people if you should take the job offer, but deep down, if you’re quiet enough, you will know if you should shift positions. Here’s the question: If you already know what to do with your life, don’t you think the same might be true for your child or brother?
Listen. I hate to sound like Polyanna. Trusting yourself and your intuition is hard if you’re used to relying on other people’s opinions. But there’s a beauty in it. Once you’re able to trust your own guidance system, then something magical happens. You’re able to allow other people to live their own lives, without explanation too.
*This Monday Note is brought to you courtesy of someone providing me with unsolicited advice about how I choose to live. Instead of participating in an argument, I simply wrote responses in my Notes section 😉 Let me know what you think.
Today is my 44th birthday! You might remember this from last year. I’ve added a 44th lesson:
- Pay attention to nature.
- Some friends don’t last forever.
- Physical life doesn’t last forever, but death will continue to surprise you.
- If you don’t like the life you’ve created, then make steps to create a new one.
- Be yourself.
- Love yourself.
- Be nice to people you don’t know.
- People will let you down. Learn how much letdown you want to tolerate from any one person.
- Learn when it’s time to let go.
- Learn when to hold on.
11. You always have a choice.
12. No one owes you anything.
13. You don’t owe anyone anything.
14. Sometimes friends act more like family.
15. Be honest with yourself and others.
16. Kids are not a do-over. They are individuals with their own experiences.
17. If you want more love, compassion or empathy, then give more love, compassion or empathy.
18. You can’t make people like you.
19. It’s never too late to grow.
20. Change is inevitable, whether it’s biological or spiritual.
21. Be grateful for all the so-called bad stuff that’s happened.
23. Accept apologies.
24. Folks will fill in the blanks of your life AND make up their own stories about it; so what?
25. Mistakes are inevitable; try anyway.
26. Institutions look out for themselves.
27. You will attract people and experiences that reflect how you feel about yourself, whether you believe that concept or not.
28. Treat people the way you want to be treated, even if you don’t think they’ve done the same.
29. Nothing is finite.
30. Recognize how you feel in situations.
31.You can’t blame your parents forever.
32. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age.
33. Listen to your children. For a long time, they are a reflection of you.
34. Don’t try to convince people that their belief system is wrong, stupid or inaccurate.
35. Fear nothing.
36. Know yourself.
37.One way to avoid manipulation is to be clear about who you are and what you want.
38. Judging does not equal caring.
39. Treat the homeless as you would your own mother.
40. Exercise so you can continue to move your body in ways you enjoy.
41. Learn something. But figure out if you need to pay for the knowledge or if you can Google your way through.
42. There is no correct way to live life.
43. We’re all connected.
44. Be of service.
With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds ~ Abraham Lincoln
Sometimes I write a note to myself after I read another blogger’s words. This time I was visiting Eddie’s blog and he mentioned how we should “Make America read again.” Voila! I was inspired and created this meme based on his words. It was post-election, Literacy Week, and appropriate.
I don’t usually post on a Tuesday, but this is time sensitive. My husband, Dwight created a T-shirt to inspire people to do what they want in life. He’s giving 75% of the proceeds to the Special Olympics.
This kwote popped into my mind after I’d announced to several people that I was leaving my tenure-track position at Florida State University. There was no visible job prospect in April 2015, but my intuition had spoken and I was listening. Even though my instinct was clear to me it wasn’t to others.
My cousin’s response, “Are you crazy?” Mind you he’d asked me the same question when I announced the commute.
My best friend at the time replied, “What??? Now I can’t say my best friend is a professor at FSU!”
My daughter’s reaction, “Are we gonna be poor?”
My aunt’s email, “So what if you’re the only Black person? Since when did that become a big deal?”
My friend and university’s alum, “What? Why?”
This is just a small number of people and their opinions. But in my mind, there were far too many and I didn’t feel as if I owed anyone an explanation for decisions about my life. With the exception of my daughter, none of these people would be affected by how I generated income. This kwote helped me to see the truth.
Oftentimes, this time of year prompts reflection and a sense of renewal. But sometimes we neglect to follow our hearts and inner voice because we’re worried about what family and friends will think about our new paths. Let me tell you something. They’ll be just fine! Now, let me ask this question. If you don’t follow your intuition, will you?