They might laugh in sympathy.
And they’d tell you to grow thick skin if they really knew all the emotions you feel.
I don’t take criticism or controversy lightly. When it comes out of people’s mouths, I grab the words with both hands, examine them, get a little angry, and then, if I’m not careful, I let them leave growing bruises on my otherwise cheerful spirit. It’s almost as if someone pressed their hands right where it hurts. Painful. For days, weeks, months even.
Have you ever mulled over a phrase that broke your heart a year ago or how that awful email kept popping up in your thoughts the entire week afterwards?
I’m like that – I don’t know if you are.
I allow people to have their sway because I let them in. I let their opinion matter. You might call me a people-pleaser. Make-everyone-happy-er.
Grow thicker skin? Yeah… I wish.
But no, this isn’t where this story ends. It’s not a pity poem – it’s a pounding anthem of strength. It’s a change in perspective and a change in attitude.
You see, culture says we’re only strong if we aren’t affected by anything; that people’s words shouldn’t matter and we should be stubborn to get what we want; that independence is true bravery and nobody should get in the way of our path to success.
But at the same time, culture glorifies popularity, going to the clubs every night with your squad looking like you just walked out of a Victoria Secret runway; constantly updating your flawless Instagram page (that is colour coordinated because that’s how you ought to roll); and have enough free time so you have an actual social life and make sure your friends are happy – but also going to the gym at least four times a week.
Both ends of this spectrum aren’t lovely. And they’re definitely wouldn’t make me feel free.
Why? Because I need community and accountability.
I need people to help shape me, grow my character and correct me. Even if it means it hurts. But I also don’t want the unruly insides of my heart to rage war in my mind. Even if it looks like I have it all together.
Balance is like walking on a tight rope. But once you master the skill and put one foot in front of the other straight down the middle, you’re grounded. You can keep taking steps.
So I’m asking you to join me. To choose to see conflict and controversy as opportunities. There’s no blueprint for going about it the right way, because let’s face the beauty of it all – we are human and we have the ability to experience our feelings.
Being in tune with all the swirling emotions inside isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. With every breath we take, every word we speak, every smile we spread across our face and every tear we cry— we’re alive. We’re here, now. We get to experience all the world has to offer us today. We get to react and connect our story with others’. We get to try, fall, extend ourselves some grace and try again. We get to laugh in hindsight, watch beautiful sunsets with soul sisters and wake up the next day ready to carpe diem.
It’s all a lovely thing.
I don’t want to be controlled by my emotions, but I want to experience them. I want to dig deeper: to understand my trigger moments, breathe the frustration out and to continue to see the beauty in each moment — even the not-so-good ones.
It’s okay to feel all the #feelz.
We can’t please everyone, and we were never born to do that. I hope this takes the burden off your heavy shoulders and you truly realize this truth: you are enough. You don’t have to morph into someone else or slap on a fake “I’m perfectly fine and don’t even remember how badly you hurt me!” mask around people.
I’m learning to forgive — others, but also myself.
Let it go. Choose freedom, you lovely thing.
– image credit: Kaihla Tonai