F*** them (think of a word that rhymes with duck).
That’s what my husband Joe says of the naysayers. You know the type. They add nothing of value, but slowly gnaw at your confidence through “well intentioned” questions and suggestions. They can’t do something themselves, and so find ways of making you responsible for their inability. They ooze toxicity in an outer shell of friendliness until they finally go ballistic, and leave you feeling somehow it was all your doing.
I know. It’s their problem not mine. They have issues and I must represent something they dislike, or can’t control. I listen to the words of wisdom I am given: continue on my path, follow my mission, do what I believe is right. Sticks and bones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.
Well some words hurt, and those who say them are forever their slave. You can’t “unsay” something, you can’t take it back when the other person already heard them. The spoken words become the naysayer’s burden. But at times I repeat them in my head over and over as a willing victim.
I am prone to feeling sorry for myself. I have spent YEARS of my life working on self-esteem and to stop my people pleasing. And when I start to feel down on myself, because a naysayer spoke, or yet another friend unfriended me on facebook, I stop on my tracks.
Words can only hurt me if I believe them.
And I only believe them if I am not confident that I am doing my best.
I am no Saint. I have glaring defects and faults, and I am not always on my best behavior. Sometimes I jump on a soapbox as if it were made for me, other times I feel I don’t deserve the air I breathe. I am a classic egomaniac with an inferiority complex. And some of you will know exactly what I mean.
But this is how I am getting over it.
I look at my kids and think: “I don’t want them to think they have a loser mother, because what does that make them? Loser kids?” And guess what, they are anything but. I know that for a fact.
My boys are loud, rambunctious, and not always well behaved but they are amazing little people who if things continue as they are, will grow up to be incredible men: sensitive yet strong, adventurous but honest. If I show them my inferiority complex, they will have it too. And I’ll be dammed if they get that from me.
No one has the power to bring me up or tear me down. I give them that power, and I can always take it back.
There are people who bring out the best in me, and those who bring out the worst; some who lead me to try harder and be kinder, and others who spark my insecurity and anger. But ultimately I choose who to spend my time with.
In a perfect world, none of it should matter. But it takes me time to process things; I am not a fighter. If you yell at me, I can’t think fast enough. I get tangled in expressing how I feel, and at first sight I am easily intimidated. If you are sarcastic, or even passive aggressive, I might fall for it. It takes me forever to give a name to an emotion, and often by the time I figure it out, it’s too late.
But it’s not too late to let them go. It’s never too late to take someone’s voice echoing in your soul and silence it. They don’t have power if you don’t give them any … so there.
You. Are. Silenced.
And though it feels a bit uneasy, and somewhat lonely without the internal chatter … the silence will rule.
I am not a religious person, but I believe in universal values and I can take lessons from any faith. So when I feel as I do now … when I am ruffled or when I find myself on a lonely road, I turn to this poem who happens to be from Mother Teresa. I hope that if you are out there and feeling misunderstood and judged as I do today, that it brings you as much comfort and resolve as it does to me.
And unlike Joe, I say an f word too … but mine is FORGET them!
Do it Anyway
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.