It can be hard to protect yourself from the onslaught of opinions and advice and judgement. It could overwhelm you if you let it. Seep into your pores, and sit in your skin, like it lives there, but it doesn’t live there. It doesn’t belong. It sits there mimicking your skin telling you that you are a crap mother or a crap person or you are mean or you are not enough. Not crafty enough. Not smart enough. Not tidy enough. Not fun enough. Not nice enough. Not inspirational enough. Not happy enough. Telling you that you are without something that you need. But it doesn’t belong there. And if you care about yourself, you can’t let it stay. One day you have to look at yourself in the mirror, hard. And shake it off. It can’t stay.
There are two things that protect you from that.
You have to know who you are. If you know who you are it doesn’t matter if someone else thinks you are boring, ugly, stupid, annoying or just plain doing it wrong. Because you know who you are. You know all the things about yourself that they can never know. You know that you are funny. Sure, not everyone thinks you are funny. But you know there are people who get you and think you are freaking hilarious. You know that you have a beautiful spirit and you ache for the hardships of others. You know that you try really hard, at everything, even when failure is a certainty. You know that you move mountains for your friends and you do all manner of stupid stuff just to make them smile. You know who you are. And you are a good person. Sometimes people see it. Sometimes they don’t. But the only thing that matters is that you see it.
And you know what I tell myself when insults start getting thrown my way or judgements are shot in my direction. Or even if they aren’t really directed at me, but it feels like they are. I think to myself, I would be able to come up with a better insult than that. I could craft it more beautifully, or make it more eloquent or make it more damn poetic. I could make that boring, repetitive, mind numbingly predictable insult more interesting if I had a mind to. Because no one can insult me like I can. No one can say anything that I haven’t already told myself. Except my version is more mean. And all of a sudden that insult is gone. That judgement isn’t even close to getting near my skin. Because it can’t stay. And it’s gone.
One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from Maya Angelou. I think it was in the context of abusive relationships but really, it’s such a great approach. She said ‘when somebody shows you who they are, believe them’
I know who I am. All I can do is ask that you believe me.