I have finally come to realize where a lot of my self-doubts, worries, and stressors come from; Other People. As you cannot get rid of Other People unless you choose to hermit yourself in your home and cut off all communication, I have developed my own little mantra, to keep me on the straight and narrow when Other People try to knock me off:
The road to happiness is paved with…Earplugs.
Seriously… That’s it.
I could have made it more exciting, such as paving it with boxing gloves, trip wires, or whoopee cushions, but all of that takes more energy and ultimately means that you are taking a detour from your own happiness to respond to Other People’s unhappiness. I know the ‘just ignore them and they will leave you alone’ speech is old and teens everywhere are rolling their eyes knowing that no, ignoring the bullies will not make them go away, but this is not about bullies. This is simply about Other People, your general, run of the mill people that you find dragging you down. In their own right they may be being a little bit of a bully, but it’s more of their negative attitude and exclusivity clause of who they are willing to acknowledge in the world that make them Other People.
You may be wondering where all of this came from and where I am going with this, so let me just start with a BBQ I attended. I should preface this and say that where I live, I am a minority, which yes does play a role in all this. I live in a place full of culture and close knit communities, which I love, but can leave me a bit on the outside at times.
This BBQ was a ladies & children only event and out of 50+ people I knew the guest of honor, the ones throwing it and 3 or 4 guests. For me, not knowing a lot of people has never been a problem. I am very sociable, and I mean VERY. I love talking to new people, making friends, and making people laugh. To say I am a people person would be a bit of an understatement as I have realized that I am The people’s person in that my happiness and actions are usually motivated by making those around me happy. In fact when I took a Big Five quiz as part of a phycology class it pretty much said that I am too talkative and outgoing, dependent on others for happiness, and have a Martyr Complex…Gee Thanks.
But I digress, so back on story, I go to this BBQ and regardless of my smiles, hi’s and attempts to engage eye contact or even a brief exchange of word I am ignored. I don’t just mean like they didn’t notice me, more like blatantly ignored. They would look at me, I would smile and attempt a small wave or high and they would pointedly look in another direction or walk away. This of course does not include the guest of honor or the ones throwing the party, but they of course were busy, as anyone who has thrown a party knows that you don’t get to party at your own party. But almost all of the other guests had not a minute to spare for me, or my adorable toddler, I say almost all because there were a couple of elder gals that couldn’t help but pat him on the head as he cruised by. I was hurt and left after an hour with tears in my eyes. Why I had found this shocking is a wonder too me as this was not my first rodeo, over the past 4 years I have been to many gatherings and have experience the “you don’t belong here” cold shoulder many a times. I think this one got to me more because my husband and all the females husbands were not there. When I attend gatherings with my husband, I can at least guarantee I will have him to talk to, and usually he and his friends introduce me to the friend’s wives, and out of social courtesy if nothing else, they exchange a few pleasantries before running away. But without the husbands around the referee the encounter, many women want nothing to do with me. I say many because I have met some wonderful women who care nothing about the way I look, or that I was not born here, the guest of honor of this BBQ especially. Unfortunately, I have found the acceptance is about a 50/50 crap shoot and even some of those that have determined that I fit the local bill took a while to warm up to me being around.
So now that that story is done, I get to the lesson I learned. When I came home upset my husband, who has never cared what others think, just said “Psshh…Never mind them anyway” and he is right. Never mind them, most I will never see again, and those that I do see again are clearly not worth my time and efforts. It seems finally, after 4 years of living on an island and however many years of life, I have learned that sometimes you just need to put in the earplugs and ignore what they say (or don’t say). I know that this does not just affect me an most people will find themselves on the outside looking in at some point or other. To them I say, ‘never mind them anyway’, don’t lose your social graces because they lost theirs, and if they dont have anything nice to say or anything to say at all, ignore it and move on to the next person. There may be many who rebuff you, but I have found that mixed in will all the people that dont have a care for you there are always those who will make the best of friends. They may be, like yourself, also feeling a bit like an outsider and would love some company.
At the end of the day I am walking down my road of happiness and have brought plenty of earplugs to share. ; )
For your own Fun, I included a link to the Big Five Quiz: