I find myself sitting here on the couch watching Oprah's Oscar Special. When you've recently lost your full time job, you find that you have a lot more free time to do such things. And it's ironic that as I watched this special, and watched Oprah interview Viola Davis, that I had what Oprah herself refers to as an "aha" moment.
My whole life I've been a "people pleaser" by definition. And of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with caring about others and wanting to treat them with kindness. But I think it can be very easy for that line to get blurred and for that to turn into never wanting anyone to dislike you. You never want anyone to say a bad word about you. This is where what Viola was talking about comes into play. My whole life I've been scared that when I walked into a classroom people were talking about me and the way I walked or the way I looked. I've been teased for my hair, my slender frame, my meager chest, and my limp. I would sit in the back of every class I ever took (even in college) so that I wouldn't be constantly worried the people sitting behind me were criticizing me.
Even now, in my late twenties, I still have trouble not walking by a group of people and worrying that they're saying something negative. I never realized though, that for all these years when I was so concerned about what negative things people either were saying or just what I thought that they were saying, I was negating all the positive things those around me had been saying. Those that love me. My parents telling me I'm smart. My family telling me I was beautiful. My friends telling me how funny I was. I completely pushed their words out, took away their meaning and chose to give complete strangers more of a voice than anyone close to me had. I think Julia Roberts put it best in Pretty Woman, "sometimes it's just easier to believe the bad."
But starting today...I'm not believing the bad and I am listening to the good. I am believing the good. Thank you Viola.