Updated: Jun 27
What's a potentially unpopular opinion that I hold while often accidentally behaving in a manner contrary to that opinion? Glad you 'asked!'
Being universally likable is not an attainable or desirable goal.
I simultaneously accept the reality that not every one is going to like everyone while also actively fighting a nature that was literally beaten into me as a child. Too often our screens bombard us with images and narratives of perfection. The implied expectations to always be nice, and clean, and hustling are unrealistic. Striving for constant 'perfection' and universal acceptance is an exercise in futility.
It is quite simply impossible to please every one. Personal opinions and tastes are subjective and ever-changing. Instead of conforming to the unattainable notions of being universally loved it can be better to focus on authentic connections with those who 'get it.'
I know this... Yet, I still desire acceptance and validation from others. Perhaps it's an innate part of human nature. Perhaps it's because we are a social species. For me, it's fueled by a past need to please those around me for my literal survival. Please the adults around or get hurt. Better please my friends or they will abandon me. Gotta please the teachers because getting in trouble is really bad. Gotta please the foster family or I'll get moved again. Gotta please the boss or I'm going to lose this job... I have to appeal to as many people as possible and project professionalism at all times or no one will buy my art...
This constant walking on egg shells, trying not to upset anyone, and be liked by everyone... it's exhausting. It compromises my authenticity. Always suppressing thoughts and emotions and even altering my behaviors and speech for others makes me lose touch with myself. I feel as if I exist to perform to the standards of others. To often I been but a facade... bending and shaping myself to everyone else's needs while ignoring my own and keeping a lot hidden behind the mask.
Perhaps it's age that has me giving less f@*&$ or I'm just tired of trying to please everyone else but me... but lately I find myself less and less willing to constrain myself for people that didn't care, don't care, and will never care or like me. Rejection is a natural part of life and some people are always going to hate me no matter what I do or don't do. I might as well just be myself and go ahead and let them think I suck.
Humans are immensely diverse creatures. We all have different abilities, qualities, quirks, beliefs, and preference. We are bound to encounter people who have contrasting perspectives, tastes, and values. Each has their own background and experiences that have shaped their biases, opinions, and judgements.
I'm embarking on a path of authentic self-acceptance and working to cultivate a genuine sense of self-worth. I have spent so long trying to please and appease people who will never appreciate or approve of me... It's time to start laying down the heavy burden of seeking external validation. It's time to be selfish and focus inward to nurture compassion and acceptance of my authentic self.
Allowing my full self to show up will likely result in me losing some people that never really knew me anyways. I'm confident that in addition to those losses, new relationships that are built on a healthier foundation will form. I may lose some opportunities but more authentic ones will blossom. Fully embracing the fact that I'm not for everyone is an act of self empowerment and self love. It is an act of self liberation.
Moving forward I will not be striving to maintain the illusion of perfect professionalism as you may think it should look. I will no longer be holding back parts of myself that might somehow offend you. I won't feel bad about sharing art that comes from a darker piece of my soul that was forged in the fires of severe trauma. I won't try to use less ellipses in my writing because some people don't like that...
I hope you'll still be here, but if you find I'm not your cup of tea, go find the blends that better suit you. I wish us both well on our journeys and hope we remember to enjoy the detours.
A variety of recentish digital artworks are interspersed into this blog.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments.