- Mental Health»
Accepting who you are
"Let Me ListenTo Me & Not To Them"
As I sat on the park bench and watched the children play, I noticed that one of the little girls had put her shoes on the wrong feet. I called my granddaughter over to me and asked her to please point it out to the little girl, so that she did not trip and fall over her own feet.
My granddaughter cheerfully runs over to the young girl and informs her of her wardrobe malfunction. The child stops for a brief second to take in the information through one ear, and simply lets it go out the other. I was about to get up and help her correct her mistake when I decided to stop myself.
Who was I to decide what was wrong and what was right? The only reason I considered it wrong was because it’s different than what I believed was right. The child was enjoying herself immensely despite the fact that her shoes where on the wrong feet. Her shoes, nor my opinion of them was dictating her happiness. As I listened to her infectious laughter, I was reminded of a story which I had been told long ago.
A woman sits and watches a mama bird build and lay eggs in a nest outside her window. When the baby birds hatch she is greeted every morning by their cheerful, chirping sounds. One day the neighbor’s cat comes into the yard and eats the baby birds. The woman chases the cat out of the yard yelling "bad cat!" The cat runs away smiling and thinking to himself "mmm good bird!' What we decide is right or wrong, is only a matter of opinion and perception.
I also stopped myself because I realized that in that brief exchange, I was about to teach my granddaughter how to be judgmental of others and imbed my opinions into her mind. I decided to let the situation be.
As I looked around the playground I began to smile, admire and even envy some of the children. There was the little boy who looked as if he hadn’t brushed his hair in days. The little girl whom you could tell had dressed herself this morning because nothing that she had put on matched. The beautiful, bright red -headed child who hadn’t yet been told repeatedly that she was different. I noticed that they all had one thing in common. They were all having a joyous day in spite of what they looked like!
When do we become aware of the facts that were different? At what point do we start to care about what others think about us? When does the need for other people's acceptance and vindication set in?
The more that I gave thought into these questions the more I realized, that for me, Junior high was my turning point. I have always been an introvert, and a book worm. My junior high years were no different. I spent a lot of time alone in a corner somewhere, self-absorbed in my books and at the places the characters would take me.
It was during those years when I was reminded daily by a group of well-meaning popular girls, that the clothes and shoes which I chose for myself where not fashion appropriate. I thanked them every lunch period for thinking me so special that they took time out of their busy day to help me with my fashion sense. By the time I had reach high school however, I had been so brain washed about the way I looked and dressed that I had become obsessed with fitting in. I was so stressed out about what people thought about me that I'm surprised I even made it through high school.
The reason why I bring all this up is because I have begun to notice that there are many people out there like myself, which left high school behind, but not the high school mentality. A few weeks ago I had someone say some pretty nasty things about me. A mutual acquaintance was nice enough to relay the hurtful words that this person had spoken. After dwelling on them for days, I came to the realization that 99.9% of them weren’t true. So why was I so upset and effect by them? It finally dawned on me that I was right back in high school, being hurt because someone didn’t think I fit in, and didn’t like me.
Recently I was flipping through T.V channels for something to watch and came across this show on history called Axe men. Normally this is not a show that would interest me in the slightest bit. The reason I decided to stop and watch was because on this particular episode there was a man named Shelby, who was wearing pink ladies panties while logging in the swamps of Louisiana. I was suddenly mesmerized. Here was this man, on national TV, clearly having the time of his life, and not caring what anyone thought of him! He was doing what he wanted to do, on a man’s show, and could care less about the camera men filming, or the millions of people watching at home. Priceless! Swamp logger, 56 year old Shelby Stanga is now my new hero. From what I have come to understand he is one of the main reasons that thousands of fans tune in each week.
I have come to discover, that one of the problems with worrying about what others think is that it does not allow us to shine as our true self’s. We tend to worry so much about what others think about us, that we don't stop and worry about ourselves. Words have a tendency to get taken too personally when our hearts are worn on our sleeves. We must remind ourselves on a daily bases that we are no longer that snot nose teenage kid who cares about what others think about them. Others words do not define you because they have no clue who you truly are inside. It's a grueling process to unlearn what has been drilled into our physical being for years. Remember that these folks don't pay the bills, nor will they be there when things get rough, so what does it matter what they think? It’s only one person’s opinion. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
As of today I have promised myself to care a lot less about what people think and say about me. Everything about me does not have to be perfect. I was not placed on this earth to empress others. As of today I worry about myself instead of worrying about what others think about me. I might even go out and buy myself some pink panties to remind me of how to care less, and have more fun in life. So the next time you go to your local store and notice the girl who isn’t dressed perfect or who's hair is out of place but is laughing and enjoying life, keep your comments to yourself, smile and say hello because it might just be me...