There's a fantastic song by Kacey Musgraves called "Follow Your Arrow." Here are some of the lyrics:
If you can't lose the weight then you're just fat
But if you lose too much then you're on crack
You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't
So you might as well just do whatever you want
Can't win for losing you just disappoint 'em
Just 'cause you can't beat 'em don't mean you should join 'em
Say what you feel, love who you love
'Cause you just get so many trips 'round the sun
Yeah you only live once
So follow your arrow wherever it points
Yeah, follow your arrow wherever it points.
The message of the song is of course, to just be yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. Same as the message of so many books, movies, songs, and every episode of Sesame Street. I agree wholeheartedly with this message and I hope that everyone who is reading this blog isn't afraid to be 100%, wholly, authentically themselves every minute of every day. Because that can really be the key to having a happy life - living it the way you are truly meant to.
What I also want to address in this third installment of what has become my "Turn Off the Voices" series, is the simple and unpleasant fact that no matter what we do, we will be judged. By someone. By someones. By a lot of people or just by a few. But no matter what, somebody will be judging us for every moment that we are living fully as our authentic selves.
Why is that? From an anthropological standpoint I don't really know. I suppose the earliest people compared themselves to one another from a purely procreational standpoint - the stronger the man, the better hunter and provider he would be? The more feminine the woman, the more she resembled and emitted survivalist motherly characteristics? I honestly don't know if current human behavior can be traced back to our earlier models. But here's what I do know:
No matter how hard you try, there is going to be someone who doesn't want to you to succeed.
No matter how good you are at something, there is going to be someone who thinks they are better.
No matter how highly you think of yourself, there is going to be someone who doesn't agree.
No matter what your intentions are, there is going to be someone who doesn't "get" what you're trying to do.
No matter all of these things....because they don't matter.
In the grand scheme of things and on a day-to-day basis. They simply don't matter.
The naysayers don't matter. The dragger-downers, the joy-stealers, the bull-headed self-righteous snobs, and the too-sad-to-understand-how-someone-else-could-be-happy people don't matter.
They want so desperately to matter though. They need to pull the happy people down to their miserable level to help make themselves feel better about themselves and their lives. They derive satisfaction from crushing other people's dreams and insulting their way of doing things. There will always be these kinds of joy-suckers who will gladly ruin your life if you let them.
The trick is NOT. TO. LET. THEM.
The trick is realizing that it's not you who has a problem, it's THEM.
The trick is being strong enough in your own self-worth that it doesn't matter what anyone else says about you, you KNOW that you are good enough just the way you are right now.
How can you know this to your very core? It's not just looking in the mirror and repeating affirmations to your reflection every day (although I'm told this helps a lot). It's realizing on an intrinsically deep level that the very fact that you are standing on this Earth means that you are worthy to be here. You are worthy to be happy and fulfilled simply because you exist. It was a million to one chance that you would be born and it's a million to one chance that you are still here. Always remember that you are a miracle, that your life is a gift, and it is up to you to spend it either squandering away precious moments on what some rude person said, or letting that nonsense roll off of you, leaving you free to enjoy every glorious living moment you can.
To that, you need to make the choice to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and support you and share in your happiness. You need to make the choice to let go of those people in your life who no longer fit your vision of yourself, the same way you get rid of clothing that is old or stained or doesn't fit well any more. If someone is going to disrespect you or put you down then you do not need them in your life. Period.
We're going to be judged no matter what we do. That's a bummer, but knowing that fact frees us up to consciously do whatever makes us happy since the unsolicited judgment is coming regardless. As Kacey put it so eloquently, we're damned if we do and we're damned if we don't so we might as well do whatever we want...and not waste our time and effort worrying about what anyone else might be thinking.
P.S. It's also a lot easier to feel less judged when we stop judging others. It's amazing how that works.