Recently I’ve started my week off by publicly announcing one area of my life that I’m going to focus on improving, the tough parts that sometimes seem pointless. In this path of making myself a better person, one week I chose to not let anything bother me. Meaning I would pay attention to the situations within my control, the way in which I would react to the forces outside of my control. A task that at the end of the week shed a really bright light on who I’ve come to view myself as.
It was a week filled with the usual ups and downs, except this time my goal was to seek out the positive no matter how hard it would be or how much pain it would put me through. Literally turning the other cheek is some tough stuff, and it broke me down and exposed my heavily guarded emotions to the world. But in the end it filled me with a peace and confidence that has often escaped my grasp. The experience showed me who I really am.
The details are now foggy, but one particular moment stands out every time I reflect on the things I’ve learned about why I exist. It was a tweet by Alejandro Reyes that included a quote by André Gide.
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ? André Gide Tough pill to swallow but it's the truth.
— Alejandro Reyes (@alejandroreyes) August 21, 2014
It was then it hit me. Everyday a multitude of people will barrage you with their attempts at making you more like them, they will turn on you the moment that you make the choice to do you, because then they’ve lost control and you’ve become unpredictable and this makes them uncomfortable. What matters in the midst of it all is that you remain true to who you are. Each and everyone of us will answer for how well we were stewards of our lives. Each wasted opportunity to create more good is held against us. Our silence in the presence of injustice is a vote cast for that injustice to continue. It highlights who we really are and determines who we will be.
I began to realize that the time of when my moment will arrive is completely up to me and no one else. Absolutely no one can hold me or you down unless we let them. No matter what problem we may face there is more than one solution present to resolve it. Violence isn’t an answer that will ever yield a positive result and it never will become the best solution to anything that seeks to grow and flourish. Much like a rose, our lives will have thorns, but it is from within this pain does beauty truly appear. The situations we allow us to weigh us down aren’t a curse but a beautiful process that constantly refines us to be more than average. It doesn’t matter if only one person says thank you for all your hard work, the masses will never understand but you will, because now you have one more person on your side than before. Now just imagine what happens when two more join the ranks of your combined effort? Before you know it the numbers have multiplied and a goal of more good accomplished even just for a moment.
Without the weight of trying to be loved for being a person you are not allows you to focus more energy on the things that matter.
Letting nothing bother you might not be the place to start, but start somewhere. Stop letting others determine what you can accomplish. They don’t know your life, they don’t understand that burning passion you bury within just because someone once told you that your idea was stupid, and they will never understand the nights you cried yourself to sleep even though everything is going good. Only you do and only you can determine whether or not you’re going to stick around in the same situation or find some guts and go for the glory. That pain and fear isn’t supposed to stop you. Its there to make you stronger, but only if you’ll let it and in the process learn to let it go.
Not letting anything bother me taught me to not be afraid of the unknown, to not let the punches of life keep me down. That I am fully capable of doing great things, that those around me are fighting a similar battle and are only reacting the best way they know how. But we know better, so why aren’t we doing better? Why have we settled for average? Why are we so selfish and quick to judge?
Standing up for something isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. To be loved for who you truly are is what truly living is about. People will hate, but let that just be fuel for your fire of success.
The next time you want to give someone a good piece of your mind, take a step back and walk away. Your peace of mind is worth more than arguing with stupidity. The world needs you to be the weight that balances the bad, the rose that shines through the thorns.
Will you answer the call?