Self-Improvement: Listening to the Right Voices
In the past, I have let the negative opinions of people who do not genuinely care for me influence me deeply, whether by taking them as truth or fueling my determination to be better. But I know now that these voices aren't the ones we're supposed to listen to. It is a worthy lesson to learn how to exercise discernment in what we allow to shape how we live our lives. Sometimes, we need to cut ourselves a break and just be exactly how we were made... accept that we won't always get it right. Accept ourselves for our thoughts, experiences, and points of view. We are not and cannot be perfect- being so hard on ourselves and letting others feed that negativity often kills our spirit, creativity, and motivation.
It is true that it is important to learn from our mistakes and grow from them. It is also important to surround ourselves with people who have our best interests at heart and push us gently and lovingly to be the best version of ourselves. There are so many voices and opinions that we could listen to- from strangers on the subway, people we're dating, our peers at work, our parents, our friends. A valuable part of growth and working on ourselves is leaning on others for guidance, but who you choose to take advice from is essential. If we listen to everyone's judgements and systems of belief around us, we will inevitably be paralyzed by indecision or make rash decisions without direction.
Last week my friend shared with me how difficult work has been because the people she works with intentionally exclude her and make her feel bad about herself. It reminded me of years ago when my roommates at the time sat me down a few weeks after living together, full-on intervention mode, and told me that I couldn't possibly be so genuinely happy and care so much about the well-being of others and I needed to change. It made me second-guess my intentions at the time, which makes me upset now because that is such a sincere part of me. But it taught me not to apologize for who I am.
My friend who is so kind, thoughtful, and hard-working told me that she thought that maybe her coworkers were right in that she needed to improve in certain areas. But I disagree. If a person does not have your best interests at heart, do not take their words or actions to heart, even if it feels true or warranted. We all have room to grow, but it is not up to us to decipher through the fickle opinions of those who disapprove of us. There are plenty of other ways to reflect and grow. We don't have to build upon intended negativity from others, especially for those of us who are already so hard on ourselves.
So to my badass and good-hearted friend who is learning what she is capable of, both in and out of the workplace, and also to you reading this- be free to be yourself and grow and learn at your own pace, with love for yourself and wonderful, overflowing grace.