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No matter what anyone else says

I have a younger brother who is a bit of a practical joker. He loves to trick people, and one of his favourite tricks references the title of this post. He says, with great sincerity I might add, “You know, I like you. You’re alright, no matter what anyone says.”  We were laughing about it a while back because the different reactions people have to this statement are not only funny, they’re very revealing of people’s personalities.  Think about it for a minute and be totally honest with yourself…what would you say in return?

It seems that most people immediately ask, “Who said they didn’t like me?”…or something along those lines. It’s a normal reaction right? We all want to know what other people secretly think of us. Of course, it’s also completely normal to feel dismayed or upset when we find that someone doesn’t like us. I’m not so removed from highschool that I can’t remember the angst of finding out some popular girl thought that I was weird and freaky…lol! I’m absolutely certain that everyone can relate. It hurts and it often sends us into a negative thought spiral where we start to wonder who else doesn’t like us and if our friends think bad things about us.

So what if you could stop that from happening.?What if you could respond with complete honesty and say, “Good for you, you should always make up your own mind.” What if you could genuinely not care what other people thought or said about you?

There’s a saying that’s been doing the Pintrest/Facebook/blog rounds for a while that particularly appeals to me….”What other people think of you is none of your business.”  In fact, there was a great piece on Positively Positive last October by Kute Blackson (click here to read it). The first time I saw it I had to stop and think for a minute. My first thought was, “Of course it’s my business. It’s about me so it must be my business.”  Now, I always try to see things from as many sides as possible and so it occurred to me to wonder if I would really like to know what other people thought of me. After thinking that through for a while I decided that I would really rather not know. Sure some people would like me and think nice things about me, but I am just as sure that there would be many who would not. There are probably some people who like me ok, but might not like, or even be irritated by, some of my foibles (as we like to call them). Then there are those people who can’t stand me but are currently acting as though they like me for one reason or another. I’m sure I don’t want them to tell me how they really feel!

You might wonder how I know how they/you think all of this. It’s easy…that’s how I think and feel. Nobody in the world can possibly like every single person they meet. Not even someone like Mother Teresa or Pope Francis likes every single person they meet. They can make the choice to love people as they are, but that doesn’t mean they actually like them.

We’re all trying to grow and develop and turn into the best version of ourselves possible. Some days we fail, some days we succeed. But the very best thing we can do for ourselves today is to forget about what other people think of us at all. It’s one less thing we should worry about amidst all the stresses and problems of our lives.

In fact, the very best thing to worry about at the end of the day is….do I like myself?

Can you say with honesty, “You know, I like you. You’re alright, no matter what anyone says“?

 

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Self Reflection

During the last week I have seen a number of things on Facebook that have disturbed me deeply. So much in fact that I have seriously contemplated just “unliking” everything and resigning myself to missing out on the good stuff, just so I didn’t have to face the bad. I’m not going to repeat any of the things that bothered me…why should you all have to suffer as well? If you’re on FB then I’m sure you’ve seen enough yourselves. What I don’t understand is why? Why go on to a page only to spread hate and meanness wherever you go? Why set out to deliberately hurt the feelings of people you don’t even know? How can anyone justify that in the name of their religious beliefs?

How does it make them feel, when they write something like that? Do they feel strong and powerful, like they have achieved some kind of victory over their opponents? Opponents who all too often don’t even know that they’re at war. I know that the bad is only a very small percentage of the people who are on FB. I know that most of the people I have met on-line are lovely, sincere and honest, reaching out across vast distances with the hand of friendship. I know that I shouldn’t let that small minority spoil the friendships that are inspiring and valued. But it’s hard.

I can honestly admit that I can have a pretty bad temper, that sometimes I get really mad at these people who I don’t even know and threaten them with all kinds of bodily harm. I am often reduced to yelling at the computer screen, decrying the fact that these people are smart enough to use a computer, but not smart enough to think about whether or not they should.

And then I catch myself, I stop and I am forced to remind myself that it is not my place to judge them. That my anger at them passing judgement has caused the very same flaw that I am upset about. I remind myself of a very good piece of advice I once heard: The things that bother you the most about other people are probably the things that you need to work on yourself.

No matter what our religious persuasion, we are all deeply flawed human beings. Not a single one of us is perfect…certainly not me. Although we try our best, we so very often fall short of our aspirations. I know that I do, much more often than I would like. So, for the rest of February I am going to refrain from yelling at those people who annoy me. I am going to take a deep breath and remind myself that I can’t know what they are dealing with today, that they might be having the worst day of their lives, and that I should treat them with the same kindness as I treat those I love.

That’s my Valentine.

Kristie )O(