Susan Meier's continuing her #TheWriteLifeBalance column with a look fitting in versus being the true you...
Remember the 80’s? Remember yuppies? Eyebrows were raised if you told anyone you were an artist, a writer. There’s not a lotta money in that. LOL Plus, we dressed weird. Talked about things that no one cared about. And let’s face it. Here in the supposedly enlightened 2000’s…lots of us are still a tad off center.
I used to have a problem dealing with “not being in fashion.” You know…being the mom at the cheerleading mom’s meeting who doesn’t quite fit in because she can’t bake brownies for the next bake sale. Or the friend who gets the publishing contract first and suddenly everybody treats her as if she’s grown a second head because everybody expected somebody else to get published first. Or the person who wants to wear a dress when everybody else is in jeans.
Then one day I realized that if I compromised every time my abilities, clothes or opinion didn’t fit, I’d wake up one day with absolutely no sense of myself at all.
But the interesting thing about being yourself is that it doesn’t always involve hair, clothes and career choice. One day, you begin to realize that being who you really are is about things like kindness. Will you curse at the driver who steals your parking space…or be gracious. Because deep down, you want to be kind…don’t you?
But there’s a lot more to being gracious than kindness. You should be celebrating the successes of everyone in your life. Especially when they achieve something you want.
Oh, now that’s hard.
Not really. Everybody’s just trying to carveout their own corner of life. If they got the promotion, the book contract, the NYT bestseller list status, they’re just trying to be happy the same as you would be. And knowing how much you want what you want, you should understand not just the struggle they had getting where they are, but also how and why they want it. Which means? You guessed it. In understanding, you should be happy for them.
I’m not saying learning to do this is easy. I am saying life is wonderful, sweeter, better when you are kind, gracious…
When you come smack dab up against forgiveness, you will face some hard times. Good gracious! Forgive the people who gossiped/lied about you? Love them? Holy cats, Susan, are you nuts?
Nope. I’m happy. You know the saying… “Unforgiveness is the poison you drink yourself hoping the person who hurt you will die.” It’s true. You only hurt yourself when you refuse to forgive.
One of the biggest keys to happiness is forgiveness. Most people don’t deliberately hurt anyone. Most slights are inadvertent. Knowing that makes it easier to forgive.
But even when you know the person who hurt you did it on purpose, did it with malice, wanted to you squirm, suffer, be humiliated…you still have to forgive them.
Not for them. For you.
And last but not least…actually, this is most important…if you really want to be yourself, your best self, stop thinking about you. If you start thinking of situations in terms of the person who wants the parking place, the person who had the great success, the person who needs forgiveness, not you, it will revolutionize your life.
First, you’ll begin to see that other people matter. Seriously, if you only think about yourself, see everything from the vantage point of how it affects you, your life is dull. LOL But, second, if you start thinking of other people, you will begin to love them. Maybe not at first. People who steal parking places are a little hard to love. But once you start loving the unlovable, you’ll see they aren’t so unlovable and you form points of connection. You start to see the world’s full of people who are…say it with me…just trying to carve out their own little bit of happiness.
And that’s the truth of life. You don’t become happy by focusing on yourself and fighting for what you want. You become happy by being generous, kind, forgiving and focusing on others.
And I’m way over my word count. LOL But life’s messy. Love it anyway.
Susan's latest book, A Mistletoe Kiss with the Boss, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.