Yesterday, I heard my mom say something to the effect of: "What other people think of me is really none of my business."
I have to agree. It's pretty true. There may be things people are thinking of me that I really... don't want to know. There may be things people are thinking of me that I do want to know, but it's up to them to tell me about it, and if they choose not to, then there's not much I can do about it, or would know to do about. And then there are things that one may think of me I just would not know what to do with if I did know. In that case, does it matter? Well, to one side, I suppose it does, but that's not my side.
To me, there are times when certain information would be nice if favourable, and obviously not nice if not favourable. Although, honesty is a good thing, and being led on by someone in any aspect of life; be it friendship, business, love, etc., is not.
I have said it before, and I'll say it again: we have no control whatsoever over what others think of us. We can do everything in our power to try and either improve or degrade one's view of us, and depending on where they are in life, they will see and perceive things a certain way. When trying to influence others; you may, or may not see your desired result. Perception is funny, and our differing experiences will colour it. Sometimes the viewpoints of your audience may be similar to yours, and other times; not so much.
So why do we worry so much about this? Of course we want to be loved, and admired. We want people to think the best of us. We want to be happy, and that's hard when we are feeling all alone, and we assume everyone hates us. So yes, of course there is value in being well-liked. People need one-another, and there are people out there who will be compatible with us on just about any level. We are naturally wired for community. It's how we operate, and without it, life can get pretty boring, as well as difficult. It is important not to take these easily compatible people for granted in search of what we think we need, or want. Especially if what we need or want seems unattainable. Truth is, if you really do have to practically kill yourself to impress someone enough for them to want to share space with you, they aren't worth it, and probably have their heads so far up their asses, they will probably never even see you, anyway.
So you know what? I don't bother. I am, what I am, what I am. What you see is what you get with me. Take it or leave it. I won't say I won't be hurt by rejection, but I'm a big girl, and I have been through a lot. I'll survive. Believe me.
Of course, there are other times when I may feel intimidated by a person for whatever reason, and find later that this person I have idealized for so long, and am so humbled by, has turned out to be sweet as blueberry pie with a slice of cheese on top. That said, I have a tendency to get quiet around these people at first, and learn who they are before I share too much about my own life. This doesn't mean I won't be authentic and honest about my opinions, but I still don't find it necessary to show off. I am not competitive. That involves too much pressure. I hate pressure, especially when I am usually just looking to have fun. It's tricky, but remembering not to get too caught up in the details, and also remembering that in the end we are all just people, can go a long way. It is something I sometimes have to spend a great deal of time reminding myself.
And... at times, I let the intimidation win, until I don't anymore. Yeah, I'm human. Doesn't mean I can't work on this flaw of allowing myself to be intimidated; to make it less-so. After all, what is rejection? So what if one person decides you aren't worth their time? You know what? There are a lot of fucking people in the world. If one ends up shitting all over your life, move on. Speak up when necessary, but pick your battles, and if you have to be the rejector, you have to be the rejector. Someone else is out there who probably won't hurt you, and if they do? Someone else is out there who won't hurt you. Just keep going, and reflect on those lessons you've learned. It's all happening for a reason, and if you pay attention and decide for yourself that you are worthy of better, you'll find better.
As for now, it really is OK to be yourself, right where you are in life; in the moment; even if that means you are the only one being authentic. 'Cause you know what? You can laugh at all those phonies, honey. Self-improvement is something that is admirable, and something we should all aspire to... but let's do it for ourselves and not for others, OK? Is it really improvement if you simply change with the tides of what's popular, and fake it until you become what you weren't before, for the sole purpose of fitting in; without staying true to yourself?
What the hell kind of life do you end up with if you strive toward the ideals of another person? A fucking Svengali-assed, resentful one; even if it's really just you holding the strings. And damn. How pathetic is that? You know what that is? That's a show no one wants to see, albeit one I have certainly starred in, in the past. I did not have much fun, and am glad I dropped the strings, so I could be a real girl. I like her. A lot.
If you feel like you are doing this too, you have to ask yourself what you want. I'll wait. Whatever your answer is, is OK. You only get one life. Don't die full of regret. It'll be your fault.
For a long time, I used to wonder why some people found it so important to have others figured out. It is beginning to click for me lately, and I think that this has to do with knowing what to expect from a person. Sometimes I really do have to feel a situation out, especially if I want things to go well; even if I'm not necessarily intimidated by the other party... but I find the relationship to be an important one that I don't want to screw up. Sure, these relationships are give and take, and one of my favourite parts happens in the beginning stages, while I am learning as much as I can about the other person. And really, how are you supposed to be able to relate to another soul you know nothing about?
I like to let my friends just be who they are, and feel comfortable expressing themselves around me. For that reason, I have a tendency to go neutral on choosing things for a while, so I can get an idea of their likes and dislikes. Honestly, this usually works out well, because there are very few things I dislike. It takes a lot to piss me off, and even without being the one to choose the situation or setting of a social outing, I often find myself having a good time. I go into these situations calmly, and with an open mind. It's often an adventure, and sometimes I even learn something valuable.
And, believe me, if I didn't go into things with an open mind, there is no way this would be possible.
For instance? Last night, I changed into my pajamas because I was cold. I ended up changing back out of them, after I received a text from a new'ish friend with plans that went from going to the bar down the street from my house... to going for a little drive... up to a boat in a crazy marina where we smoked hookah, drank some pretty wacky libations, and told stories until the wee hours, listening to Bhangra. Now that, my friends, is my idea of a good time!
As for well-established friendships; I know what not to, as well as what to take personally. Some aspects of one's personality are just part of who they are, and while they may seem rude or unorthodox to an outsider, it's something I come to accept when other parts of the whole person overshadow these shortcomings. I won't put up with everything, but I will put up with some things if you are worth it.
After all, we all have shortcomings. Every last one of us. If you tell me you don't, I'll call you a liar!
But really, in the end, the most important relationship any of us can have... is with ourselves. In the end, it does matter what we think of... ourselves. Joe South said it best once: "God grant me the serenity to just remember who I am." Remember who you are; love, nurture, and enjoy who you are, and honey, you'll be A-OK.