Monday, July 15, 2013

You Like Me? You Really LIKE ME?

Over my 40 1/2 years, I have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to make people like me. I don't do that anymore. Don't get me wrong: I try to be kind, compassionate, honest, but I no longer change myself to fit someone else's idea of who/what I should be.

BUT people who knew me when I lost sleep about people not liking me are confused now when I don't care, don't engage, don't kiss anyone's behind. See, if I compliment you, I genuinely mean it. I do like your hair, perfume, outfit or shoes. I really do think you've lost weight and I see that your arms are toned up. For real. I'm not saying that so you like me.

I have been a lot of people's "person" over the years. And I appreciate the opportunity. I love hearing people's stories and have been changed and blessed so many times by those who have trusted me with their secrets. I rarely reciprocate, but it's usually because I feel that my role is that of listener rather than sharer. My brother takes particular offense to this because he is me to many others, while I am usually me to him. I've told him lots of times that I do feel I could talk to him if I needed to; I just rarely feel the need.

Mostly I sort out my problems in my head, in a book, and in writing. I don't trust a lot of people. I guess I have had too many encounters with those who used what I told them in confidence as ammunition down the road. But if and when I want to talk about a problem, I don't find a lack of willing listeners. Surprisingly enough, I digress.

In the recent past, a few people have decided to dislike me. I apologized in the instances where I felt I may have wronged someone, and in the other cases I just prayed for the person and moved on. The fact that I am able to do this is an earth-shattering change. This is the kind of progress that could drive a therapist, if I had one, to publish an amazing case study, retire early and rest on the laurels of helping that one person who seemed beyond help. At least, I think that is how I might feel if I were a therapist who was able to help a seemingly hopeless acceptance addict such as myself.

When I say I'm a vegetarian, people feel the need to tell me why they eat meat or how little meat they eat or that they only eat chicken. I don't make judgements about what anyone else eats. You can eat a rack of ribs next to me; I don't mind. When I say I am a Christian, some people feel the need to explain to me why they don't believe in God. It's cool. God made a crazy huge amazing change in my life, and I am super excited about that. Sometimes it's hard to contain my excitement, but I am not trying to shove it down anyone's throat. I respect people's choices. 

Bottom line: I am blessed by the people who give me feedback positive and negative. I love people whether they are Catholic, Christian, spiritual, or atheist. And if you don't like me? It's okay; I like you anyway, but I'm not gonna lose any sleep over your feelings about me. Because it was never about me anyway.