Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
I hope everyone has enjoyed their first week of April, and I hope that the rest of the month either gets better for you guys or continues to have the same energy!
Onto this week’s “Self-Appreciation Saturday” letter to you all:
Let me say this as straightforward as possible: most of us, if not all, wish we were able to know the things people truly think of us and what do they see us as. Personally, I’ve struggled during most of my teenage years worrying about what others were saying about me, what they thought about me, and how I was able to keep doing and being the “positive” things people saw me as. By the time I hit 22, that shit was corny, and I started to just be more like how I supposed to be. But, it doesn’t mean that even at 25, I don’t care about the things people think of me. Yeah, I know more now than I was when I was a teenager, but I’m still trying to figure out the things that make me as I experience new things in my life.
And, if you’re anything like me or who I was when I was younger, then you might find yourself in the same situation, and all you can do is take other people’s thoughts and opinions about you with a grain of salt.
I’ve learned that there are just going to be people in this world who may not like me, and many of us need to learn that there are people who are not going to like you. Whether these people know you or don’t, a person who doesn’t like you are going to say some negative things about you; whatever, right?
But what if you hear the same negative thing about you constantly from different people in their life? Are they automatically right about you, and you’re now carrying this negative personality trait on your back? Not necessarily.
When I was in my senior year of college, that year I had a pretty good head on my shoulders. I had a good group of friends, I was confident in my studies, and I was able to really make decisions that I wanted to make and that felt like were best for me because I valued my worth. After not giving a shit about who I was during my teenage years, I deserved to at least acknowledge and know my self-worth. So, when I stopped being and doing the things that didn’t go with the “image” I portrayed myself to be in the past, I was called “selfish”.
I wrote a post long ago about my thoughts on “being selfish”, so I won’t go into much detail on what I think about the meaning itself. Typically, “selfish” is a word that has a negative connotation, or in other words, has a “bad reputation”. People correlate selfishness with being self-centered or egotistical, which are usually negative traits that are given to people who typically put themselves first, above anyone else in their life.
But, isn’t putting yourself first and prioritizing your feelings and emotions a good thing? Isn’t that what everyone tells you to do with yourself? So, why is that labeled as being selfish?
It just as a negative connotation, but it’s up to you to change the meaning of that word.
Selfishness, to me, is a positive thing because it reminds me that yeah, there are people who care about me and I care about too, but I prioritize myself because no one in this world is going to do that for you. Plus, being selfish with yourself gives you a lot more clarity about the people in your life, the people who left your life, and the type of future you want for yourself. It also helps you become more assertive, which I’ve been personally practicing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t always take what people think about you to heart, in all honesty. If people say you’re loud-mouthed, maybe it’s because you always have something to say about important issues and conflicts happening in society. If people say you’re childish, maybe it’s because you still enjoy the style, interests, and possibly are very youthful for your age. If people say you’re selfish, maybe it’s because you take your self-worth seriously and prioritize your needs before anyone else’s.
Let’s face some reality, shall we? Not everything in life is simply black and white, so both good and bad traits are going to have a little positivity and negativity about them. For example, people think that being a “people-pleaser” is a good thing because it means you help and care for other people, despite the situation at hand; but, being a people-pleaser allows people to take advantage of your kindness and limits you from helping and caring for yourself, despite the situation at hand. Everything in life has its gray areas, and having negative things being described towards you isn’t always a negative thing.
Of course, in extreme cases, there are negative things that are strictly negative and should be changed as soon as possible, but that also depends on how willing a person is able to change for themselves first or if this negative thing becomes a toxic trait, which everyone should acknowledge and be aware of as they grow.
For the most part, try to take the negative things people may say about you and turn it into a positive thing! At the end of the day, people don’t know who you are and what it’s like being in your skin and your mind for the rest of your life. You might as well take care of it before you allow others to influence who you are.
Embrace yourself, even for the “negative” things.