This morning, I went to see an advisor at my university whom I’d seen before and believed that I’d ‘got off on the wrong foot’ with him. I understood within the first few minutes of the meeting that he wasn’t being condescending with me. It was his accent. Once I paid more attention to the way he spoke to me and his willingness to listen to me and help me, I knew that he didn’t dislike me and I hadn’t done anything wrong. His accent just came off as a bit condescending. Once I sensed that he actually wanted to help me succeed and wasn’t judging me, I relaxed a little bit and opened up enough for him to provide the support I needed. Where I’d left my first meeting with him quite unsettled, I left this one feeling better. People have said similar things to me and about me. They haven’t found me condescending, but they have said that their first impression of me was different than how they felt about me once they took some time to get to know me.
This experience reminded me that it’s important to get to know people even if I don’t always get on with them initially, especially since many people who were put off by me at first never gave me another chance after that and never wanted to know me. As I’ve matured – and become more socially aware and capable – I’ve realized that I will never get on with everyone, please everyone, or be everyone’s cup of tea. What’s even more important is that I’ve realized that this is okay, natural, and true of everyone; nobody gets on well with every single person and believing that this is possible – or worse, expected – will only lead to frustration, disappointment, and sadness.
My father once told me that, since I was three, I have always given my love and energy to people who dislike me and I’ve ignored people who actually like and love me. My best friend Dane said that this is true of everyone to some extent; we all have a certain desire to please or ‘win over’ people who don’t like us; we all want to be loved and accepted. I have tried to focus my energy and love on the people who actually care about me and I’ve made more of an effort to surround myself with good people rather than fighting for people who don’t and will never accept me.
I wish I could end this blog post saying it’s something I’m working on and I have a certain willingness to keep working, but sometimes it’s very tiring to ‘work’ on every aspect of myself. Some people do like the person I am when I’m just ‘naturally me’ and not fighting to be someone else or fighting to ‘fix myself.’ I think I have to learn to accept myself as I am while continuing to work rather than believing I can only accept myself and be worthy of others’ acceptance when I behave and move a certain way. I think that if I stop fighting so hard, what is good in me will come through naturally; I will be happier and others will be happier to be with me.