You Decide How You Want To Feel
“Most people want to make you responsible for the way they feel.” – Rachel Wolchin
I have always loved wearing things that made me look “over the top,” or “overdressed.” I would wear ruffled white vampire shirts with red satin corsets to school, or I would show up in full evening wear for a casual birthday party [as you do].
While I would like to boast that my style has become more refined, I am still often considered over the top. I am known for click-clacking my way through life in high heels and lipstick, and I always overdo it when I am invited to parties and events.
But that’s me, it happens naturally. I never felt insecure about it; it was just the way I loved expressing myself, and it is a natural extension of who I was/am inside.
That is, until people made me question myself.
One time, after singing a melancholic aria in preparation of my music degree – clad in flowing layers of black fabric – my music teacher told me to look less “Gothic” the next time I performed.
I was gutted. Before he made his nasty remark, I had been extremely proud of my performance and my outfit. I had felt completely connected to my song in that outfit and had strutted about in it, feeling like a queen.
After he gave me his speech, everything about the outfit and evening was ruined for me. It completely destroyed the fantastic memory I had of myself and the performance.
It made me question everything.
He was not the first to make me feel that way though, and he also wasn’t the last.
At some point I got so concerned with what others thought of me, I would “tune myself down,” just so I wouldn’t be too much. I started counting to 30 before answering an open question in class; because I was worried people would feel I spoke too much. I stopped wearing extravagant clothing, because I worried what people would think of me.
Was I too shallow and “concerned about my looks,” if I wore a full face of makeup? Would they find me too unkempt and not taken care of, if I just showed up without makeup and wild bed hair? Was I too opinionated?
I became unbelievably awkward and turned into white smoke. I disappeared by hiding myself and avoiding any attention. Everybody could see through me, because there was nothing left of ME. There was only a jumbled version of all the things I thought people wanted me to be.
Until I slowly started listening to who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to live my life. At some point, the only opinion that became important to me was MINE.
Instead of listening to what others said about me, or to me, I asked:
- What do I think of myself?
- What makes me feel good?
- Do I feel bubbly and want to share myself with others, or do I want to pull back and immerse myself in a book?
- What do I want to feel like?
- What is it that I want?
And with those questions, another interesting thing happened:
I stopped taking other people’s opinions as my truths.
Just because others don’t agree with me, doesn’t mean that their truth is necessarily my truth. Just because my stuck up teacher felt I was not looking the way he wanted, didn’t mean that my feeling of pride and sexiness was therefore wrong.
Feeling sexy and proud had been my truth – and I let him override it.
I believed that his opinion of me was somehow more true or accurate than what I had felt, and that I had to change who I was.
That is, of course, complete bullshit. *I would have written nonsense, but it didn’t quite convey my intense emotion here… 🙂
Yes, it might be that the people who look at me and interact with me are judgemental of what I say, do, or wear. They most probably are; we all have our first impressions.
But that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with me, or that I need to change.
Ever since that experience with my teacher, I have learnt that when people are judging you, or talking negatively about you, they are actually judging themselves.
They are holding you to a standard that they are actually limiting themselves with.
They will tell you that you talk to much, because they feel they can’t talk or express themselves freely.
They will make fun of what you wear, because they would never dare to go out of their own comfort zone.
They criticize you for your ideas, because they have never allowed themselves to dream big.
Most people are trapped in their own beliefs of what they are not allowed to do, and project this pain onto others.
There is a girl I know who is really mean towards women who do not wear makeup. Her general comment is that they could at least have made an effort to look better before leaving the house. For her, beauty is an indicator of her worth as a person and she is trapped by her own daily makeup routine. At her core, she is deeply scared people will judge her and her fear is so all-consuming that she passes it on to everyone she meets. *you can imagine how wonderful it is to have her around
Realising and noticing this phenomenon has the potential to liberate you.
You get to decide what it is that you want to be and feel like, and you have the power to reclaim your life from the opinions other people have [unconsciously] planted in you.
When somebody says nasty or judgmental things to me or others today, all I can think is: Wow, what limitations and struggles must you be feeling in your life that would make you say that?
When you switch from feelings of anger and insult to curiosity and empathy, you realise that other people judge you based on what they deeply believe about themselves.
It’s not you, it’s them.
However, these people [I like to call them ass-angels] can be a great filter system and learning tool!
Once I realised that these people were actually judging themselves, and that I didn’t have to accept their opinions as my own, I was able to phase out everyone who made me feel like who I was, was not good enough.
By being judgemental of me and making me feel bad about what I wear, how I act, what I do, or what I am passionate about [in a non-constructive way], these people helped me clarify what was important to me and on what terms I want to lead my life. They also made it really easy for me to know which people I needed to invest in and surround myself with, as I really don’t want to have that sort of person around me, or in my environment.
If a person thinks I am not good enough, I say thank you. Thank you that I don’t need to waste my time on you.
If a person thinks I speak too much, I say thank you. Thank you that I don’t need to waste my time on you.
If a person thinks that I am too much, I say thank you. Thank you that I don’t need to waste my time on you.
Can you see the beauty in this?
Instead of feeling bad about what someone else said and taking their opinion at face value [and then bending over backwards to make them happy], you can turn it around and think:
I don’t want to share my life, energy and fantastic personality with someone who would feel that way about me. I deserve better. I don’t waste my time on people who do not want to be with the person I am, and who make me feel like I am not good enough.
You have saved me so much time that I can now spend with people who appreciate and love me for who I am.
Flaws and all!
It takes courage to do this [as does walking away from toxic people], but the rewards [ regained self-esteem, a supportive and construcive environment, and a self-loving attitude e.g.] make it worth it.
You have the power to decide how you want to feel about yourself and what is important to you!
Take care, xo
In the comment section below, share your “music teacher” moment and what you learnt from that experience. Have you been able to say “thank you, for kicking yourself out of my life,” or is it still haunting you, and you find yourself adapting to other people’s opinions of you?
Let’s stay classy and focus on what these ass-angels taught us, instead of hating on them 🙂
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The Good Enough Creative
A lot of us have internalised beliefs that keep us miserable + secretly thinking that our emotional suffering is a necessary [and even romantic] part of the creative process.
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