“If confusion was a person, that would have been me three years ago. I knew I wasn't a bad person, but they painted me as one and because I wanted to make a good impression on everyone, I opened up myself to receive the 'corrections'. Because I naturally keep to myself, I was called 'slow water' and avoided like a dreaded disease because according to them, people who keep to themselves are dangerous. Because I sought an unconventional path by pursuing my love for artistic expression - drawing, they called me crazy and said no one has ever made a living from drawing people and inexplicable things and I won't be the first.
I was called a maniac for choosing to stay in the section of the house where I made my gallery instead of hanging out with the girls on Saturday nights. That was me and what I loved, but because they didn't understand, they all wanted me to be what they considered normal. After a long time of trying to convince my dad to send me to a school where I could harness my inborn drawing skills, he wasn't ready to let his only daughter be something no 'important'' person in the community was. He would rather I become a teacher to fulfil the dream he didn't attain due to lack of finances. He had the means to buy my way through ENS - a government higher teacher's training college, the school that people have died trying to get into but couldn't because they couldn't afford it. Not only that, but he narrated how crazy I was for turning down such an opportunity to anyone who cared to listen, and I was termed ungrateful by them all.
The pressure was too much that being myself became increasingly hard, so I opened up to the idea of being their normal. I would join my very few friends and family for outdoor activities more often than I normally would, needless to say, I always felt like a fish on land in most cases. I finally accepted to go into ENS, though I couldn't imagine myself standing in front of a crowd as a teacher.
The only thing I could explain to someone would be the emotions and inspiration behind one of my beautiful drawings that many called weird, yet I always forgave them. I was unable to imagine myself doing any other thing, but the thought of being at loggerheads with my dad for the rest of my life was too hard to bear, so I gave in to his demands, which made him the happiest I had ever seen. That would be the worst decision I have ever made. I became a shadow of myself. Some days I didn't feel like waking up because nothing I would do throughout the day would interest me. I saw myself sinking into a dungeon created by my desire to fit into the box of who everyone wanted me to be.
There was nothing normal about any of those things and that's why I am here today, presenting these pieces that have won me awards across Africa and beyond because I shunned the many voices and only listened to my inner voice. There was a thunderous round of applause, followed by a standing ovation in the hall of over a thousand people.”
That's Vanessa's story of what it feels like to be too eager to hear what people have to say about you. This could be you, and you can only rise above it if you do the following things:
1. Accept the fact that people will always have opinions about you
Coming to terms with the fact that people will always have opinions about you will spare you the stress of worrying too much about them. There are some things that we can't do anything about, and this is one of them. Worrying is just a waste of your precious time.
2. Have a Sense of Direction and Self-Confidence.
Someone who's without direction is someone who can be tossed about in whatever direction the wind chooses to blow. When you know who you are, and what you want, you won’t be moved by people’s opinions. Having a strong sense of purpose boosts your self-confidence making it harder for others to talk you out of doing something.
3. You can only Control your own Thoughts, Words and Actions
If we could, everyone would have loved to have control over what others think about them, but the reality is that we don't possess such supernatural powers. The only power we have is over our own thoughts, words, and actions, and we can direct them as we deem fit. So, you see, instead of worrying about what people think about you, worry about how you react to random people's opinions. If you want to build a wall to prevent negative opinions from getting to you, do. It's up to you to choose how to react, and you can always choose to take opinions with a pinch of salt.
4. You know best
No one knows and understands you better than yourself. Thus, thinking that another person stands a better chance of deciding what is best for you is giving up on yourself and living for others. People can only direct you on the path you have chosen, they can't choose for you. Sometimes they do not agree with your choices, but as long as you know that your choices are good and they do not put anyone in harm's way, ride on.
5. Understand that you can never be liked by everyone
Even Jesus Christ the Messiah was not liked by all, what more of you, a mere mortal? Even if you try pleasing some people, others will still be unpleased. Trying to please everyone is a losing proposition. You’re better off pleasing yourself and your God or whoever you hold in high esteem and believe in.
Conclusively, do not live your life based on standards set by other people; otherwise, you risk spending your life merely existing and not living. Living life means drawing from your inner strength. It means doing the things that make you valuable, and following the path that helps you to create an impact in your world.
We hope that these tips will help you to live and not just exist in a world full of random opinions about what and who you should be. Now it's your turn to share this with your family and friends. Together let's make a positive impact in the world. Do well to SUBSCRIBE to our blog for more enriching content.
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