Happy Herbivore Blog

January 14, 2013

Minimalist Monday: Worry About Being You (Being Yourself Always) & Taking a Break from Unsolicited "Advice"

Back in October, my friend Marie sent me this email: 

"Dear Lindsay,
As I was reading this quote from another blogger, I immediately thought of you and your Minimalist Mondays articles. Can you use this quote as a new article on Minimalist Mondays? I think it would do a lot of people a lot of good to be reminded of this... especially for the new the plant-based person in a meat eating world.

"It's not your job to like me - it's mine."  - Byron Katie

Love,
Marie"


I liked the quote (and topic) and immediately jotted it down on my editorial calendar in the next open spot (which happened to be today). I was unsure what exactly I'd do with it, but just as fate would have it, two great life experiences tumbled in this past week.

When I first read Marie's email, I thought back to something my mom used to tell me as a child -- when I would make some comment like "Oh well Jenny is allowed to do xyz" and she'd tell me she wasn't Jenny's mother, and I wasn't Jenny.

Her point at the time was that just because Jenny was allowed to do something, doesn't mean I'm allowed to do it. Or that my mom should allow me to do it. It's not that Jenny's mom was right or my mom was right -- they were both doing what they felt was best as parents. 

Now that I'm older, and thinking a little more profoundly back on that lesson -- there is a deeper meaning that's so obvious. I am not Jenny. 

I am not Jenny.

I will never be Jenny. It's Jenny's job to be Jenny. It's my job to be me. Jenny doesn't even have to like me. That, too, is my job. All that matters is I like myself.

(and here's a secret: You'll never like yourself trying to be someone else or something that you are not). 

So be yourself. If someone doesn't like you - that's their loss. 

My greatest fear, which I blogged about last year, was that no one would like me and I wouldn't have any friends or fit in socially. I conquered that fear by realizing I have people in my life who love me for who I am. And also, do I really want people in my life who don't like the real me? "Friends" who want me to be someone or something that I'm not?



When I adopted a plant-based diet, most of my friends were supportive. The few that weren't... let's say it quickly became apparent to me that they were not real friends to begin with. (see my post, The Secret to Handling Confrontation and Dealing with Negativity).

You can love me or you can hate me but all I can be is me. 

Which brings me to my next point :)

I'm often getting strange, unsolicited life advice via email. People just love to tell me how to live my life and it tends to be handed out in a negative, nasty way -- about how I'm presently doing something wrong. 

Some of it is mild--- people love telling me how I should pose in photos, how I should wear my hair, how I should dress. Or better, how I should not post in photos, wear my hair, and what I should not wear.

Some of it is telling me not to talk about certain things on my blog (for example, apparently talking about flatulence, a bodily function, is offensive, and I shouldn't do that ever again. oops), or that I shouldn't tweet, or write about political issues on my personal facebook page (not Happy Herbivore's page), as though I'm not allowed to have an opinion and express myself. (Now you see where that crayon quote came from!)

Most popular (and a little too personal if you ask me) people tell me, at least weekly, via email, that I should "grow up" buy a house and start a family. 

The beauty of being an adult means I am free to live my life however I choose. 

I always tell these people: Worry about being you.

At the end of the day, we can only be ourselves and controls what happens in our life. We have to answer ourselves. We have to like ourselves. 

As hard as it can be, really try to disregard what other people think. I have found the most happiness doing what I believe is right. 

It's my job to be Lindsay. 

It's your job to be you. And no one NO ONE is better suited for the job. 

Be yourself. for yourself.

That's minimalist!

I don't pretend to live a conventional life. My life is not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination and I'm okay with that. 

I've come to appreciate that all those awkward gears and oddly-shaped bolts fit together to make me... me. If you changed one thing about me -- even if it was a small thing.... I would be a different person. 

I could not be me if any part of my life, my personality -- my spirit was different. I could not do the work I do. It all comes together in song.

I may be an odd ball. I may live and odd life. But that's what it takes to be me. 

When it comes to others: Please stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. When it comes to you: Please stop trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. 

You are who you are. I am who I am. Embrace that -- even if you're a little bit of an odd ball too. (Just go find another odd ball, preferably an odd ball that's even odder than you, and you'll feel normal ;) 

Every part of us is an important part.  We are who we are.

To close, here is a quote someone sent me when I was expressing how hurt I was by the mean emails people send me:

"Everybody has negative thoughts... but we don't have to verbalize them... That gives the negative thoughts power... We want to take away their power"

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