There’s a quote that I often see doing the rounds on the Internet that says, ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.’
You may have seen it on your social media travels, perhaps you’ve liked or shared it. And it’s true, right? We are all dealing with our own challenges and griefs and difficulties. But when we come across unnecessary rudeness or criticism that is far from constructive are we really supposed to excuse it because ‘we’re all fighting a battle’? I’m not so sure.
Yes, we all have days where we’re a little grumpy and grouchy but that doesn’t mean we have to unquestioningly accept any kind of verbal attack from another person.
Time to go on a little truth trip.
There is a difference between recognising that someone’s actions or negative behaviour is born from a place of fear or insecurity versus excusing said behaviour and therefore validating it and enabling it to continue.
We don’t have to condone bad behaviour, even though we may understand its origins.
At some point we all have to be accountable. And quite honestly, if someone decides to lash out at me, I’m not always going to trip over myself to wish them love and light. Namaste and all that, but no.
Differing opinions are part and parcel of life. But when we come across people who are intent on delivering criticism from the sidelines, sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that we may not be doing it right in their eyes, but hey, at least we’re doing it. At least we are getting up and showing up and walking into that damn arena and turning to face the crowd, saying: This is me. This is who I am.
I used to get really hung up on how my writing was received. It mattered to me that my words were liked and accepted and it stung a little bit if I saw that an article I’d written hadn’t done so well.
My initial thought would be ‘OK, what didn’t I do right here?’
‘What didn’t I do right?’ It took me a while to step away from that way of thinking. I mean, asking myself what I didn’t do right suggests that I did something wrong. That I need to modify my behaviour. Do better next time.
But the truth is that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to our own self expression.
My creative contribution to the world doesn’t need validation. Neither does yours. Unless we’re writing venomous words or taking our sculptures or photographs or paintings and bashing people over the heads with them then we don’t need to say sorry. We don’t need to doubt our path or our message.
I’m so over other people’s judgery.
I tend to adopt the belief that it’s better to promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate. These days I don’t generally like to give my energy to people or places that I don’t feel are worth my time or attention. But that doesn’t mean I can’t (or won’t) kick ass when I feel the need.
Being compassionate towards the unknown battles of others is not the same thing as bending over backwards in order to accommodate them at the cost of compromising ourselves.
Just because someone decides to project their issues onto us it doesn’t mean we have to take it. We are allowed to choose to deflect negativity. We’re in the arena remember? Hold up your shield. Let that sh*t ricochet right back to where it came from.
The arena can be tough going sometimes. All those warrior moves can be a little tiring. But, as I always remind myself, at least I’m in the stadium. And if you’re living your own truth and blazing your own trail, so are you.
Truth trippers, here’s a little fun fact for you. Sometimes I feel as though my world is flowing so wonderfully well and sometimes it feels as though the wheels are about to come off at any second. When it gets crazy like that I don’t have a fail safe method of dealing with things. I don’t drop into lotus pose and meditate until I have the answer. Honestly, I’m much more likely to walk around my apartment going ‘f*ck, f*ck, f*ckkkk’. (Or mutter it in the street. I live in NYC – nobody bats an eyelid).
I have never professed to have all the answers. I’ve never said I was a role model. I’m just a human figuring things out as I go. But I do feel empowered. And that’s because I have learned to lovingly accept myself. And my flaws.
It’s also because when I have days when I feel like a train wreck (yes, I do have them), I talk about those, too. I won’t sweep anything under the carpet. Apart from anything I am almost neurotic when it comes to cleaning and I’d be seriously stressed about anything under the carpet.
We don’t have to justify our magnificence. And we don’t need to justify anyone else’s attack on our worth. Nope. Not today. Not ever.
Next time somebody takes it upon themselves to not so nicely critique your life, remind yourself of these words:
You are your own glittering prize.
You are your own magnificent monument.
You do not need to be validated by anyone.
You have no need to seek anyone’s approval to be who you truly are.
There’s nothing anyone can hate about you that you can’t learn to love about yourself.
Don’t lose focus of your path or your message. Other people will have their own and that’s ok, too. The worth of your contribution to this world is not determined by somebody else’s acceptance of it. Keep going. Keep reaching. Keep busting those arena moves until you know for absolute certain how awesome you truly are.
I put out a meme recently and it seems fitting to finish this post with it:
Also published by Positively Positive
Photo credits: Leon Cato Photography