I had this dream last night that I kept letting everyone down. I was late to a rather important family engagement because people kept approaching me to talk about the weather. I was trying really hard to be charming and funny when I did get to the gathering, only to realize everyone thought I was a complete idiot.
To make matters worse, as I was desperately trying to figure out a way to save face, this girl who used to give me a hard time in Jr. High (two decades + ago) was following me around taking pictures of my every move so she could show everyone at the party what a complete and insecure loser I truly was.
And I started to think in my dream between tears and awkward gestures of social engagement was “Who am I fooling anyway?”
I woke up thinking to myself how funny it was to remember how awful it was to try so hard to please everyone, only to fail over and over and over again.
It was a flash back in time to my early years, when I had no idea who I was, who I should be or what I was supposed to say or do. When I thought all everyone could see and notice about me was the zit on my chin or how I stammered over my words, trying to sound “mature”. I wanted to fit in with my two left feet, tripping down the sidewalk, falling down the stairs with all my books cascading down the halls in slow motion.
Probably no one from that time would have even noticed, but all my foibles seemed to loom over me like some kind of sinister prankster just waiting to coax another blush from me. Fortunately, I suppose, I embarrassed myself so many times, that my body decided “what’s the point?” and gave up blushing when I fell down the stairs, said something really stupid and poorly timed, or took the wrong turn somewhere. I took to waving it off with a smile with several eyes focused on my recent calamity.
And then there came a time, years ago when it seemed like I was letting everyone down left and right, and it seemed horrifying at the time to disappoint people. Then I realized after a certain point that if my world fell apart every time someone else didn’t approve of everything I said or did, I would spend much of my life with my world in pieces.
And so I decided to forge my own path, since no one else’s path seemed to work for me very well anyway. Once I crossed that line in myself, I realized that at times I rather enjoyed being disapproved of-that it didn’t seem to bother me much at all when other people liked me or didn’t. Yeah! Sometimes I don’t want certain people to like me. In fact, I considered it a compliment coming from them.
Perhaps God, The Universe or something out there wanted me to take myself a little less seriously…giving me opportunities for various awkward failures and socially flat moments-to a point where I just didn’t care anymore.
But how can I bring this information to someone else who may be going through what I did? Someone who is a prisoner of other people’s opinions, who just can’t stand to disappoint others?
I guess what I would say is this.
1.) You are not supposed to be liked by everyone.
2.) Failure can be really fun!
3.) I’d say be yourself, but who the heck knows what that means anyway?
4.) Just enjoy yourself and learn to love the awkward moments too. They make for the most entertaining stories later.
5.) At the end of the day, you are the only person who has to live your life, therefore, live by your own values, and work for what you really want (within reason of course). If you live to please everyone else, to live up to their standards, you will only have yourself to blame when you end up with a life you never wanted.
6.) Yes, you will survive the pain of letting other people down.