The perception other people have about us is one of the salient reasons why people never take charge of and display their full potentials. We tend to embody opinions others have about our personality; we want to please everybody and thus relegate our real self to the shadows, thereby adopting a fraudulent and adulterated lifestyle. In fact some people always seek validation of their thought process before taking decisions. Please be you!
Before I delve into this piece proper, a throw back experience during my undergraduate days will lay basis of a mental picture and illuminate the issue.
I have always been an extrovert; enjoying social activities, outgoing and living life to the fullest with no stop button, loneliness and boredom were my sworn enemies. I had as many friends as I could gather using every scenario I found myself as a conversation starter. My company was thoroughly enjoyed by all and sundry as I always had something to chat about and the perfect punch line joke to every situation. I was neither a comedian nor a clown but I was constantly the energy in the room creating a buzz only I could outmatch. My presence was electrifying.
While I was being delusional that I was the host of “Everybody loves Emma”, someone literally pulled off the plug and burst my bubble. I remember my course mate who gave me a big shocker while I was right in the middle of putting up a show for my ever amiable audience, it was a really embarrassing ordeal and I felt highly inadequate. She (of course it’s always a girl) in no small words told me how she disliked my mannerisms and persona and how I was in short “irritating” her. My confidence level went from 1000 to 0 real quick, and it happened without warning, so I guess you understand how it feels.
I felt uneasy with myself when I was reflecting over her tirade. I asked myself questions like; is there anything wrong with the way I relate with people? Am I too friendly? Etc. At the end of it all, I decided to close shop and create a new persona- a fake one if I may add; I resolved to be reserved.
After a while, my audience missed me and wondered what had happened; some approached me and asked for reasons to my new ‘weird’ behavior. I had to be creative and diplomatic with my excuses. They however refuted all my claims and went ahead to propound theirs. I on the other hand continued with my fake persona and tried very hard to embody it fully but I was not happy and my sworn enemies (loneliness and boredom) were fast becoming allies. I was later to discover that I was displeasing myself to please people who didn’t even care what happened to me.
After having a thought on the whole saga, a popular tale which I once heard readily came to mind; a story of a man, his son and their donkey. I beg your pardon to share;
A man and his son were riding on a horse, on their expedition, a passerby chided them saying they were heartless to subject the horse to such burden (their weight); enveloped with guilt, the man alighted and allowed the son to ride alone. Another person spotted them and this time around, his son was scolded for allowing his aged father to suffer by trekking. Feeling uneasy, the boy alighted and the father started riding. Still on the journey, another person saw them and described the father as wicked saying something like, “how could you allow this poor boy to suffer while you enjoy”? What a contradiction!
After this the bewildered man and his son resolved to walk beside the horse just to avoid verbal assault. Shortly before they arrived at their destination, the last person that saw them called them fools, stating that they did not know what the animal was meant for. With this, they learnt a very vital life lesson; they came to the realization that it is unwise to listen to everybody.
Because of our difference in perceptions, values and cultures, we tend to think differently which in turn may account for our actions. What appeals to one may not appeal to the other. That is why it is often said that one man’s food is another man’s poison. Therefore, there is virtually nothing that you do, that will be accepted by all, even in matters you feel are trivial or insignificant, there will always be critics (or bad belle like we call them).
This suggests that actions attract opinions (either positive or negative). I believe it is against this premise that somebody once said, “to avoid criticism, do nothing, and say nothing and you will be nothing’’. That does not mean the opinion of people should be jettisoned. Nay! What I am rather trying to imply is that don’t take all what you are told as advice or suggestion; hook, line and sinker. Please by all means available to you, sift them.
You have to be yourself against all odds else you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Another matter of consequence is knowing where you are going because if you know your destination, it will be difficult for you to be misled or side tracked. Better yet, know your set target as you can only target what you can see. So, let them say.
Written by Emmanuel Onoja
Thank you for reading, I’m really waiting to see your comments, and please kindly share with your social network. It might help someone.
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