When I finally could not hold my anger anymore, I told my workmate how the guy I thought I had been “seeing” finally fessed up that he actually had a girlfriend. Her reaction was priceless, she simply looked at me and said, “ oh hiyo to…ah they all do that!” I just sat there in disbelief at how she had very smoothly dismissed the issue and went on with her work. Granted it wasn’t a shocking event but a little empathy would have helped right! Even so it got me thinking, the truth is, what others do is out of my control, the only thing within my control is myself. We cannot force people to treat us the way we want or respond the way we want, but we can control how we treat them and respond to them.
The first time I read Fuss, the first time I watched Lilly Sign, or listened to Will Smith, and Denzel Washington’s speeches (just to mention a few); I realised I had been going about life all wrong. They never convinced me in what they tried to sell as a perfect life, but rather their confidence in themselves, their fearlessness in their work, and the passion in their detail, that is what woke me up. It made me look around and actually realise, I can do better, I can be better.
I realised It’s not about making people see through my eyes, it’s not about convincing them of what I know, it’s about simply doing my part and letting go. Simply living an authentic life being authentically me. I don’t have to convince people in what I believe, they don’t have to accept who I am, they don’t even have to like or agree with me, that’s not my job. I was not created to change people, I was created to shine, shine in my lane, through my talents and my passions; in the person God made me to be. Then, somewhere along the road of my self discovery, others will begin to see the picture, and hopefully they too will want to shine.
When I am happy with myself, flaws and all, I give people permission to be happy with themselves, because then they don’t feel they have to prove themselves to me. And hopefully we will all live in harmony because we no longer compete for trivial things but rather hold each other up to greater things. Their success no longer looks like my failure but rather my motivation. Their growth is my growth, their peace is my peace. When you’re no longer racing for the finish line, it doesn’t matter who is ahead of you, but rather how do we get there together. We look at problems seeking solutions rather than being additional problems ourselves. We strive for the greater good of everyone instead of stepping on each other to go up.
When it does not matter what others think about you, you can finally look in the mirror and see, probably for the first time, who God made you to be. You begin to hear that small voice that has been trying to tell you who you truly are. You are able to forgive yourself and in turn forgive others. You become patient with yourself and thus patient with others. You begin to learn that your weaknesses are not to bring you shame but rather to humble you, to keep you on your toes and all the more help build your strength.