“If you made a list of people that you trusted would you put your name down? Do you know who you are? When you look at life and you talk about yours, do you feel proud?” - Only (NF and Sasha Sloan)
When I listened to this song I quoted for the first time, it made me realize the importance of us choosing ourselves. The questions asked in the song, forces us to think about ourselves, in a world where we can be compelled to always focus on other people and things.
I have always struggled with choosing myself. As I write this, I have now realized that it is because of my inability to really understand my passion for people. I had assumed that it was to always be there for others when they needed me, while neglecting myself in the process. The truth is, I had always enjoyed focusing on other people and what they were doing because I didn’t really love me or what I was doing.
I had thought that others had to love me first before I can love myself, and what I do is, I try to act like other people, do what they do in hopes of getting them to like me. When I was in high school, I had a very popular friend. He always got the attention of everyone with his charm and corny jokes. I always wanted to be like him because I craved the attention of others were giving him. So what happened was I tried acting like him, walked the way he walked, always followed him around, but nothing really changed. What I didn’t realize at that time was that he was loved because he was just being himself. I didn’t have to be like him in order for people to like me.
My self neglect, I believe, stems from what my lizard brain (according to Seth Godin) and other people had told me about myself. I had believed them and carried the idea they had about me, with me, for many years of my life. In high school, I was mocked for how I looked and it made me believe that no one can ever love me no matter how hard I tried. I could be Einstein and still nobody would like me.
This made me lose confidence in myself. I feared criticism. I always went back to my comfort zone and didn’t even try to do anything. I was scared of sharing my opinions with people, I ended up always agreeing with what people said even when they disagreed about the things I had initially agreed upon. This made me always had a change of mind at many different things because I believed that people can only like you when you agree with whatever they say or do. But that’s a lie because no matter how hard you try, not everyone can like you, and why should we live our lives trying to please other people? When would we have time to do the things that pleases us?
What does it mean to see yourself? It means sitting down with yourself to answer the hard questions - Who are you? What do you like? Why do you like what you like? It also means trying to learn about yourself not only through your different interests and passions, but also through sharing those interests with the world without any fear of judgement or criticism. It means making a commitment to show up for yourself and do the things that inspire you.
For so long we’ve been made to feel uncomfortable and weird about the things that we like. For so long we’ve feared the judgment and criticism of others, not seeing it as an opportunity to learn and do great work. For so long, we’ve been made to believe that failure is a part of us, not realizing that it is an event that needed to happen in order for success to occur. For so long, we’ve been waiting for others to pick us, not realizing that we needed to pick ourselves first.
So when you begin to see yourself through your different interests and life choices, you expose yourself to other people who share the same interests as you. You realize that people can be attracted to you just by being who you are. You also create a space to truly be able to relate with others, to see them, to understand and love them. This helps you to become a better partner in whatever context of relationship you find yourself in. Those that see themselves, don’t seek to put others down but to treat them with as much love and respect as they show themselves.
I hope you write your name down when you’re making a list of people that you trusted. I hope you know and love who you are. I hope that when you look at your life, you feel proud enough to share it with others.