Because you are.

How many times have you been driving and you stop to let someone go and they don’t go?  You just sit there waiting for them to appreciate your kindness and they seem oblivious.  So you tut and sigh and perhaps curse and say something along the lines of ‘well I’m not waiting here all day’ or ‘you’ve lost your chance now’ as you drive on irritated with them.

Or perhaps you bump into someone and immediately say sorry, the other person then looks at you and tuts or gives you a dirty look, perhaps even a stern ‘look where you are going next time’, and you instantly get annoyed, maybe even shout after them ‘well if you weren’t standing in the middle of the aisle’ or maybe even something worse?

How many times have you tried to be kind to someone but they are rude back and then you enter in to an argument with that person, you know full well it is their fault because you tried to be the better person?

Perhaps you have tried to be nice and then an argument has escalated and perhaps that person has gone as far as to push you.  To hit you even.  So, you of course hit back.  They started it, you were trying to resolve the issue?

What has happened in all of these circumstances is you have placed expectations on other people to act how you want them to act.  To do as you think they should do.  You have based who you are on their actions and when they haven’t acted as you expected them to you have become defensive and angry.

Now before I go any further I must point out that we are all human and therefore we will all have good days and bad days and sometimes do right and sometimes do wrong, but, if we can understand our behaviour then we can at least learn from it.  If you are a respectful person – or pride yourself to be – then you should be respectful always, not just when someone is respecting you.  You don’t have to tolerate disrespect and you certainly don’t have to match disrespect.  If you are a kind person, be kind always, don’t excuse cruel behaviour by blaming someone else.  Just because someone is cruel to you it doesn’t justify you matching that behaviour.

Be who you want to be, be the person that you think it is right to be.  If you want to be kind then you must be kind when challenged, when pushed, when provoked.  You always have the choice to close your mouth, hold your hands by your side or walk away.

Preaching that you are a type of person and then letting that be determined by someone else’s attitude is not being true to the person you say you are.  The person you want to be.

The other day I could feel myself getting irritated with a man on the train, I was tired and had a headache and I was in the middle of reading a really good book and this man was talking so loudly on the phone.  He was trying to get through to someone presumably talking to a receptionist first.  I looked over at the man and could feel myself wanted to shoot him an irritated look but I stopped myself, I stopped for a moment and thought ‘Rachel, it is your own fault you are wound up with this man, we have been underground for some time and he might need to make this call, stop being so rude’.  This was the telling off I gave myself.  I tried to go back to my book but couldn’t concentrate so decided to wait patiently until the man was off the phone.  A few seconds later I heard him say ‘yes sorry I haven’t been at work my mother passed away this weekend and I’ve taken a few days off but I will be back tomorrow and can sort it then’.  He then had to repeat it several times as the person on the other end of the phone clearly couldn’t hear him, which was perhaps why he was talking loudly in the first place.  Well didn’t I just feel like a prize idiot.  This man is grieving and trying to sort out his work in the meantime and here I am annoyed because I can’t concentrate.  In that moment I was so thankful that I observed my thoughts and took responsibility for my actions.

You never know what someone is going through or why they are acting out.  The angry woman shouting from her car, the man that bumps into you without saying sorry, the miserable cashier, you just don’t know why they are acting that way and by you being nice, or patient or just polite, you may be helping them more than you know.  More than even they know.

So be nice because you are nice.  Be kind because you are kind.  Be respectful because you are respectful.  Just because YOU are those things, be them.

Kindly respecting all of my lovely Pride.

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Uncontrollably in control

Society today can be tough right? We are told how to look, think and act and then we are told to ‘just be ourselves’. Wow, sure, ok.

Then we have people. People love helping other people. Advising them. Telling them what to do and how to behave. I’ve already covered the topic of people advising you based on who THEY are rather than who YOU are. Most people want to fit in to society – and then believe they are different from anyone else. Which ironically they are when they stop trying to be like everybody else.

And finally we have fear. Fear is painted as a person shaking and looking terrified. But fear, like the devil, wears many disguises. It is the cause of people wanting to fit in and look perfect and not be singled out. It is the cause of those advising you to keep quiet and put your head down and not upset anybody. It is the quiet voice in your head that says ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you look stupid’, ‘don’t cause a problem’.

Some of us are aware of the ‘truth about fear’ and some of us are not. Some will come out and say ‘I am far too shy for that’ ‘I can’t stand everyone looking at me’ ‘I am just not brave enough’. Some lather themselves with excuses and stories to avoid people questioning them or so that they can avoid speaking their truth or just to feel better in themselves.

I haven’t always been one to face fear. In fact I used to be the Queen of excuses. I was living in a ‘woe is me’ world drowning in my victim river. I haven’t always been able to be truthful and express my feelings without trying to belittle others or feeling the need to put them down and have the last word.

Why did I do this? Because I didn’t like who I was. Because I didn’t feel good enough to be listened to. Because I didn’t have the courage to say how I felt. Because I would feel stupid or silly for feeling the way I did. Because I valued myself based on other people’s opinions. And a whole list of other reasons, none of which benefited my life.

However that was a long time ago and mixed with a whole load of other problems that I had to face on my journey of becoming a Lioness. I have learnt the reasons behind all of those and in turn, studied others. Watching people convince themselves of their place in today’s society. Watching people excuse the things they are unhappy with and play victim to win sympathy off of others and it is quite fascinating.

I believe very strongly in being true to yourself. True to your creative side. True to your feelings. True to your likes and your dislikes. True to your own worth. And I believe something else:

Bollocks to anyone who doesn’t like the authentic version of you.

The most interesting part of my journey is most definitely the other people around me. Since I am no longer influenced by other people’s opinions of me or the need to ‘fit in’ anywhere, people see me as a potential problem, I know right? Little old me! Well the reason is that I will not people please or hide from how I feel. I will not try to ‘fit in’ for the sake of other’s opinions. I will not act according to anything other than the way I believe. For example:

I am happy to speak to a man sleeping on the street and bring him a hot drink or something to eat – people often fear those that they do not understand and often worry about their own or my safety when I talk to someone homeless.

I am happy to offer help to a stranger and do not fear rejection – If someone looks like they could use a hand I will lend it, if they say no (for whatever reason) that is fine too. At least I offered, this is often embarrassing to other people, they feel silly for trying and fear what others around them are then thinking.

I am not affected by someone disliking me – Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business. If they wish to tell me what they dislike or cast judgement that is fine by me. I know who I am. I know my intentions in this world and I also know that their opinion is not a reflection of who I am in this world but rather, who they are. It is a compliment to be thought of enough to be disliked.

I am not able to be controlled, muzzled or put off of speaking my mind – I won’t be told who I can or cannot speak to or confront. If I feel the need to confront somebody when they have upset me I will. I don’t believe in putting someone down or trying to scare anybody at all but I do believe my feelings are important and I should be able to express them without being made to feel like I am causing a problem. I will always consider how it may make someone feel and use my words carefully. I will always try to express hurt or anger after I have calmed down and I will aways take responsibility for my own feelings. If someone is afraid of confrontation that is THEIR problem. I will not stay silent just to keep the peace – silence isn’t truth. There are no rules on how to deal with a negative situation but it is my personal belief that you have to be true to yourself and speak the truth to others. I won’t look you in the eye and smile whilst secretly seething inside. It is not me. I will not be told what I can and cannot say or to whom. I will also have the intention of making peace with someone and clearing the air.

I won’t change who I am for anybody. If someone doesn’t like me or accept me then my suggestion is to not be around me. To leave me be. If you feel embarrassed or awkward or uncomfortable with any of the ways in which I live my life then I won’t be offended if you step away. I do not wish for you to do anything you don’t believe in either.

Why should we be anybody but ourselves or made to feel like we have to change who we are in certain situations? We are human. We are each imperfectly perfect. We do great things and we make mistakes. We have good days and bad days. We have beautiful days and not so beautiful days. Why are we so ashamed of being ourselves? Of excusing those around us? We are not responsible for anybody but ourselves so why would anyone try to justify anybody elses truth? Why should you tell someone how they can or can’t act because YOU are scared of what the other person might think.

Be you

Be every part of you

Do right. Be right.

Do wrong. Be wrong.

Learn

Grow

Be brave

Be shy

Be beautiful inside.

Be anything you want to be. Be everything you want to be. Don’t be sorry for being you. Be sorry when you feel sorry but don’t be sorry for being you. Don’t let anyone make you feel you should be. Let the world know you will always be you and you won’t be controlled by anybody. Let them fear that, it’s not your problem and none of your business.

In the words of Lesley Gore – ‘You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way’!

100% Lioness 0% Mouse

Here’s to YOU Pride.

Food for thought.

I came across this today and thought it was something to really think about.

IMG_1339

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

We never know what pain someone is hiding, what insecurity someone is covering up or what someone’s life is really like behind closed doors. It is not for us to judge them or their behaviour. It is for us to lead by example. To treat others the way we want to be treated. There is always time to help someone out, the universe will make sure of that. So take that time, you might change someone’s life.

Have a good week Pride and if there is anything I can do to help any of you, just let me know!