Tag Archives: popularity

Wordplay Wednesday: Perfect

p2
Look over here
I’ve walked in the room
Turn all your eyes onto me
You may need to squint
I know that I shine
So brightly
That you cannot see
That I’m here for the show
And I’ve made my appearance
The lights flash
As you all scream my name
I’ll smile and try to prove
To you that everything
Is perfect
It’s the only reason I came

Note: I wrote this in 1996 when I was 20-years old, heavily invested in the bar scene and trying to control the outsides to feel better inside. So grateful that I know now that doesn’t work:)

 

Past Wordplay Wednesdays:

Change

One in the Same

Competition

Please

Elephant in the Room: How to Love Yourself & Make Friends

Free Mall Girls Riding on The Escalator Creative CommonsDear Cora,

It’s always been hard for me to make friends. It’s difficult for me to jump into conversations with groups of people and my fear of saying something awkward or embarrassing myself prevents me from really connecting.

Recently I’ve found myself involved with a social group I really like hanging out with though. However, my usual fears of not fitting in completely still linger. I always assume that if they ever hang out without me that it means that they actually don’t like me and only invite me to things out of a sense of obligation. I keep going out of my way to try and prove that I’m a worthy part of their group but every time I do it feels awkward and forced.

I’m worried that eventually they will just ditch me entirely. What should I do?

Sincerely,
The Awkward Friend

~

Dear The Awkward Friend,

When I was little my mother’s favorite saying used to be, “You are the only unique you.” She even had painting of it done and hung it in the hallway outside of my bedroom. At the time I would walk by it on a daily basis and roll my eyes – it’s such a mom saying, you know? Anyone who has attended public school has first hand knowledge that being unique actually isn’t that great, it’s an excuse to get picked on. “You are the only unique you” goes right up there with “you are so special” and “they are just jealous” on the list of ridiculous things mothers say to try and make us feel better and we ignore them because clearly they just don’t know what’s going on.

Another annoying “mom” saying is “You’ll understand when you’re older.” And awkward, just like the sayings in the first paragraph, it is just as true. We grow up so badly wanting to be popular, to fit in with a group instead of just being ourselves. Being yourself is really, really hard. It means being vulnerable and honest and open to the world – whereas fitting in means comfort and companionship. It means never having to be alone. It’s only when you get older that you realize fitting in with a fake version of yourself is a much lonelier fate than you think it is. What you need is a group of friends that accept you for you.

It’s possible that you already have that, darling. The fear of losing it is natural because finding people you really click with is difficult (you have to sort through the other fakers!), but I think your head is getting the best of you. Have you ever expressed interest in the things they do without you? Sometimes we think other people are mind-readers when actually most people aren’t psychic. If they knew you were interested, they probably would have asked you to go.

You can also be proactive. I know it’s scary putting yourself out there, but do you invite them to things you like to do? Treat them as you wish to be treated! I feel that your fear of doing something awkward may make you seem closed off, where if you invited them to an event or to do something that you enjoy maybe you’ll feel more comfortable, and they’ll probably like it too! It’s one more thing to bond over. And don’t feel defeated if they aren’t as into it as you are, sometimes friends have differences and that’s totally okay. I promise it doesn’t mean they hate you.

What you need Awkward Friend is to drop the pretense and have a little faith. You are the only unique you and that is a worthy, awesome thing to be. Let them love you for that and then you don’t have to worry about trying so hard.

Best wishes,
Cora

* * *

avatar-NO-BKCGRNDSubmit your questions, troubles, and predicaments to Cora via editor [at] intent [dot] com or in the comments section below. The Elephant in the Room advice column will be published every Friday – a blend of humor, compassion, and wisdom specially tailored for our Intent audience.

Wordplay Wednesday: Please

Snapshot 2011-05-13 06-19-56
I used to want you to know me
Right away
Everything shoved in your face
As if limited time
Would prevent you from seeing
All I have to offer
Motivated by fear
I tried
To force a connection
To make you laugh
To get your attention
I’d boast and I’d prance
Tell you what I know
I’d sing
Play
Recite
Gripped by the desperation
To be liked
Now I try to pause
To have faith in the flow
To let things evolve
And naturally unfold
To wait to be asked
And loosen my grasp
Not always have to control
To see when I’m hooked
And start trying to please
To stop
Reflect
And breathe

I wrote this in January of 2011, as I was becoming more aware of my people-pleasing ways:)

Conscious Decisions – Going Against What Is Popular

Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion. 

It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons. 

This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular.

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