When I first started writing, it wasn’t easy to share things with people. I’d invest a lot of time and effort into writing something, finish it, but hesitate to show it to anyone.
“What are people going to think of me after they read this? Maybe I shouldn’t bother. Why should I show anything to anyone anyway?” That’s what would go through my mind.
That’s why I started stating my name at the end of these articles. It’s a way of taking ownership for whatever came before it. It’s being accountable and saying, “For good or for bad, this is who I am.”
I’m constantly worrying about what people are going to think of me, particularly when I write. I think, “Does what I’m writing sound cheesy or over-the-top?” When you’re a wanna-be-tough-guy like me, the last thing you want is to come across as overly-sentimental. I also worry about the quality of the writing. When I finish something I usually think, “This just isn’t good enough to show people. Am I under-explaining something? Or am I stating the obvious? Is a message I’m trying to convey not clear? Or am I being repetitive? Am I unintentionally offending someone? What if the people I write about read these? Would they be hurt or upset? Does what I’m writing even make sense?”
The responses I’ve gotten to my writings so far has been very positive. But the more people that see it, the more people there will be who dislike it. It’s inevitable. It’s not a matter of if or when, but of how many. The same goes with life in general. Many people like you, but not everyone will.
There are people who are quick to criticize, but difficult to please. They are the first to speak up when you do something they don’t agree with, but when you’re doing alright, they fall silent. They might insist they criticize to help you, but really, they are interested only in helping themselves. They seek to criticize because subconsciously it makes them feel better about themselves and their own insecurities.
It’s one thing when a stranger does that to us. Sure, it sucks, but we kind of expect that from strangers. But sadly, some of the people who do that to us are people we know in person, people who may be our teachers and family members, and people who may call themselves our friends.
At least if it’s a teacher doing it, they usually don’t have a choice on whether they want to be your teacher or not, so I guess it isn’t so bad. Same with family. People don’t usually get to choose their family members, so sometimes you just have to put up with it. But friends are a different story. We get to choose who we’re friends with. We are rarely ever forced to be friends with anyone. To pretend to be someone’s friend, I think, is worse than rejecting them out right. At least when you know someone doesn’t consider you a friend, you don’t expect them to treat you as one. But a fake friend is much more deceptive, and much more hurtful.
Yes, there are some people who will pretend to be your friend, and maybe even convince themselves that they are. But they don’t really want anything to do with you, and they don’t really bother talking to you, except for when you do something they disagree with, or when they see an opportunity to bash you. These so-called-friends really don’t care about you at all, because they are too concerned about themselves.
You should not be concerned with what people like this say, because they do not have your interests at heart. Though we should still treat these people with love and not hold any grudges against them, we cannot take their words to heart, and we cannot consider them true friends. People like that seek only to put you down, and letting them into your inner-circle of confidants is like asking for trouble. I would never ex-communicate anyone, but I do think it’s necessary to distance yourself from people who try to bring you down. They’re looking to steal your sunshine, not share it with you.
There’s a definite difference between people who care about you and try to help you, and those who really don’t care about you at all. The former will treat you as a friend, and their care is obvious. They are always with you, through thick and thin. They will kindly rebuke you when you’re mistaken, and seek to steer you back on course. The latter will talk to you only when they feel like it; they seem eager to catch you when you are at your lowest, while at other times, they are largely absent from your life, showing little, if any, interest in you as a person. If you behave the way they want you to, they will love you. If you don’t, they want nothing to do with you. It’s sort of like they’re in a store picking things out, saying, “I’ll take you, but only if you do this for me. Can’t do it? I don’t want you!”
A real friend won’t pressure you and give you ultimatums to change, and a real friend won’t act in spite. A friend wouldn’t want to see you hurt, and they especially wouldn’t want to be the one who caused it. A friend will always be with you, through the good and the bad, if you’re wrong, or if you’re right. It’s a crummy feeling to see someone who was supposed to be your friend turn their back on you, but you shouldn’t let it get to you. You can’t lose a friend you never had.
Whether we’re dealing with false friends, critics, strangers, or anyone else, all we can really do is try to be our best selves. Sometimes we’ll fall short, but as long as we make a conscious effort to acknowledge our shortcomings and improve upon them, we will be successful in our endeavors.
People who criticize are often incredibly oblivious to their own shortcomings. They pounce on people when they make a mistake, but fail to see their own glaring mistakes in any given problem. The thing is, when we judge people, when we want to change them, we are really being hypocritical. First remove your own faults, then you have the right to judge someone else and ask them to change.
At the same time, we need to make sure we are not one of those people bringing others down. It’s easy to think, “I’m a good person, I would never do that! Especially not towards people I care about!” I don’t think anyone actually tries to be that person, so why do people do it? I think this happens when we fall into self-centered thinking, and forget that our influence is only as good as our relationships with those we are trying to influence.
Acceptance is a big thing to us, isn’t it? We naturally want people to like us and the things we do. Could it be that when people ‘hate’ on other people it’s because they’re subconsciously afraid of not being accepted by them? I think it’s because of the perceived threat they feel. Someone or something doesn’t match who they are so they hate it. I guess it’s a self-defense mechanism. No matter what, in everything we do, everywhere we go, there will be haters. There will always be those who look for reasons to dislike someone instead of looking for reasons to like them. But if we worry about people accepting us, it will keep us from reaching our full potential.
There’s a quote by Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” This isn’t to say it’s okay to be a jerk or to carelessly act without giving any thought to whether you’re hurting people. All it means is that we should be unafraid to be ourselves.
This is one of my favorite sayings: Humility isn’t thinking less about yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less. By thinking less about ourselves and more about other people, we bring out the best in us. All our good qualities are enhanced, and our negative traits – a result of self-centered thinking – are ironed out. When you’re thinking about yourself, it’s easy to get wrapped up in things and be overly self-conscious. But when you place others before yourself, you bring out the real you. All your good points are drawn out for people to see. As for your imperfections, if it’s something that can be changed, people who care about you will try to help you make those changes, not to mold you, but because they want you to be the best that you can be. And if it’s a physical imperfection, something that can’t be helped, the people who matter, the ones who really care about you, aren’t going to care anyway.
Thinking about saying or doing something, but you’re afraid or hesitant to do it? Ask yourself why you thought about it in the first place. If it’s for a selfish reason, it’s probably a bad idea, and no, you shouldn’t do it. But if it’s for a selfless reason, if you think it might benefit someone, it’s probably a good idea, and you should definitely do it. Sure, no matter what you do it’s always possible you’ll end up looking stupid and feeling foolish, but the greater probability is that it’ll be helpful to someone, and quite possibly, helpful to you as well. Confidence isn’t about always being right. It’s about not being afraid to be wrong.
I think it’s good to always be looking to improve yourself. People who do that have a significant advantage, since they are less likely to get stuck in unproductive habits. At the same time, though, you can work forever on improving your material or yourself, but at some point you have to say, “This is the best I can do right now. I’m just going to put it out there.”
I don’t mean to sound curt or insolent, but those who don’t like us don’t have to be apart of what we do. Don’t like what I write? You don’t have to read it. Don’t like me? That’s okay too. No hard feelings. I don’t change who I am for anyone. But I always try to be my best for everyone. Take me, or leave me.
I would write things even if no one read them. So it stands to reason that I don’t actually need to show anything to anyone. But the point of writing isn’t really for me. It’s about what I can offer to you. I’m not here to please people. I’m just here to do the things I feel I was called to do. We can’t live in a shell forever, worrying about what people think about us, because we won’t get anything done that way. There’s a world out there, and it needs our help. Not everyone will want it, and not everyone will want us, but we can’t let that stop us from reaching the people who do.
You should not seek to fit into someone’s mold. Don’t change who you are to fit someone’s idea of who they want or expect you to be. At the same time, don’t expect these things of others. Be unafraid to be who you are, and strive to be your best self. Not everyone will want what you have to offer, but if you’re worrying about pleasing people, you’ll find it difficult to get anything accomplished. We should turn our backs on no one, but at the same time, we can’t be letting people drag us down. Don’t bother with people who want you to change. It’s the people who want you as you are that matter most, since they are the ones who will be receptive to what you have to offer, they are the ones who will look out for you, they are the ones who will rejoice with you in the good times, and stand by you in the bad times.
If those who hate us or judge us ever have a change of heart, we should hold no grudges and welcome them with open arms, not because we need their acceptance, not because we are being the bigger person, not because we are better than them, but because that’s what it means to act with love. Until they do, or even if they never come to accept us, we should love them anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.
I’m Rob Kajiwara. Take me as I am, and I’m yours. Thanks for reading.
I really like that song, but it sounds kinda pessimistic, and I like to end on a good note, so here’s another song. I have no idea what it means; the lyrics sound mostly nonsensical. But it sounds like a happy song.