In this life, my dear, you are going to meet some people who don’t accept you for who you are. Some may try to change or fix you. Others might judge and criticize you.
Some people will accept you only until you hit a rough patch, until you make a mistake or struggle with a lesson – and then they will get stuck there, never moving on to the better things that come after. And some won’t even make it that far, instead drawing dark conclusions about you and clinging to them no matter how brightly you may shine.
I know it can hurt, beautiful soul, but it’s a fact of life that you can’t make everyone love you, or even like you. And this fact can’t be changed by how hard you pray or how long you meditate. It’s not about how much you give, or how willingly you trust, how deeply you love, or how passionately you try.
Some people won’t like you regardless of what you do or don’t do. And that’s okay, because you’re not for everyone. You are too unique to be good enough for billions of different people; and you’re too deliciously complex to please everyone you meet.
Most of these people will pass right by you without leaving a mark. They’ll step into your life and, by the time you realize that they don’t like you, your paths will have already diverged. Or they’ll walk alongside you for a while, but stay at enough of a distance that their opinions can’t quite reach you.
I wish I could tell you that this is where it ends, but life isn’t always easy. Sometimes, the people who don’t love you or don’t approve of you are going to be those that you want to the very most. It might be a family member, a teacher or partner, or maybe someone you thought was a friend.
These are the ones that leave a mark, because they’re the ones that you’ve already let in – the ones that have a place in your inner sanctum, behind the walls that usually keep the naysayers and haters at bay.
Every once in a while, it’s really going to hurt. When someone you love or respect refuses to see the goodness and the beauty that’s woven into your being, their opinions have this way of seeping into your heart and trying to turn it against you. And if you’re not careful, their criticisms can begin echoing in your head as if they were your own. You will be tempted to start looking at yourself through their eyes rather than yours.
I hope you listen to this, kind heart, because it might just help you step around some of the potholes that broke my ankles a few too many times. You can’t control someone else’s perception. You can’t change how they choose to think – and, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make them feel any way that they don’t want to.
Everyone looks at the world through their own lens, with their own assumptions, striving to fulfill their own needs and desires. Often times, what people see in you is really just a reflection of what they’re looking for, what they’re accustomed to, what they believe, and what they want to see. It’s more about them than it is about you.
Even the people who are special to you. Even those who hold a special place in your heart, that haunt your mind, or who’ve touched, comforted, and held your body. Everyone has to make the choice for themselves to either look with the clear eyes of the heart or to peer through the buildup of their own assumptions. And when the people closest to you choose the latter, there’s nothing you can do to change that.
What you can do is remember not to give them the power to define your own sense of worth, goodness, or success. You can remember that your purpose in this life isn’t to make them like you, accept you, or even to get them to love you. Your purpose is just to be you, to be so completely true to who you are deep inside that the wrong ones will find their own way out and leave room for the right ones to enter.
Be warned though, my dear, that there is a very fine line between not caring about people’s opinions and not caring about people. And where you stand on that line makes all the difference.
Don’t allow the pain of not being accepted drive you to not accept others. Instead, devote yourself to seeing the beauty in those who refuse to see the beauty in you. Because that kind of compassion, understanding, care, and clarity of sight is exactly what makes you so very stunning. Don’t let their inability to see your beauty work to diminish it.
Rather, just shine brighter and allow them to think what they will. Don’t worry over whether they like or love you. Just focus on why you like and love yourself. Focus on being the best you can be for you. Face the fear of disapproval and conquer it.
Believe me when I tell you that, if you learn how to walk through that fear, to make peace with the fact that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea, you’ll eventually reveal a part of yourself that is so pure that it’s as light as a feather and just as unique and precious.
And that’s what really matters, because there are going to be other kinds of people that come into your life too, and that stunning spirit of yours, your willingness to give love, to be compassionate, and to be accepting is what they’ll see.
There are going to be people who fall absolutely, hopelessly in love with you the moment that they lay eyes on you. There will be some who manage see your inner light when all you can see are shadows. Some people will carry you when you’re too tired to walk, and others will offer you the privilege of carrying them when they are.
Some will come along and show you beautiful things about yourself and about the world that you’d never recognized before. And some will step onto your path one day and end up walking it with you until the end.
And these people won’t judge your imperfections, fear your individuality, or be deterred by your shadows – they’ll love your quirks, be intrigued by your complexities, and be drawn by your light. The real love, acceptance, support, and companionship that you crave doesn’t need to be earned – simply by letting go and being true to yourself, it will come to you on its own.
So, rest your weary mind and bring your focus back in, back from the minds and emotions of others and into your own. Remember that you aren’t here to work your way into someone else’s heart but to unabashedly follow your own.
©2016 Cristen Rodgers
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