Last week I posted a little saying on Twitter—some quote that I read and liked. But then someone asked me, “Who was that about?” And I frowned. And I thought for a minute. And I answered, “Me.” The person smiled and said, “Oh, I thought something must have happened and that’s why you posted it.”
She was right. Something did happen. With me. But I didn’t tell her that. What I did do is panic, second-guess myself, and delete the tweet.
But it made me remember.
A couple of months ago I posted this quote on Instagram: “What goes around comes around.” I posted it after I had said something not very nice to someone, they responded in irritation, I felt bad, and then I realized…I brought it on myself. I was short with a friend, they were short back, and here we were. “What goes around comes around…” And it came back around and landed right in my lap.
But also back then someone asked, “Who is that about?” And I answered, “Me.” Because I was at fault. And I deserved what I got. And here we were. “What goes around comes around.”
But what did I do? I panicked. And second-guessed myself. And deleted the post.
This happens rather often—this second-guessing of myself. Whether I’m writing or editing or posting or just thinking back on my day, I second-guess myself a lot. I doubt myself. I’m self-critical. Self-analyzing. Constantly checking my own motives for things I don’t like.
But what I’m not is all that concerned with what other people think.
Yes, people I admire…people I’m close to. I do care what they think. But the general population? I care about people. I love people. I take on the pain of others and sometimes, consequently, find myself carrying a lot more hurt than I ever bargained for. But when I comes to the things I write or the things I post, I don’t much care about what people think. I write what I write. I post what I post. I think what I think. And I do all these things for me. Only for me.
It’s what I believe in. I believe that in order to inspire others or make a mark on someone’s life, it a person’s (in this case, mine) responsibility to share from their heart, to speak from a place of compassion and empathy, and try very hard to understand. Not to make a point with words in order to feel superior. I can’t stand superiority complexes. I can’t stand finger-pointing. And more than anything else, I can’t stand efforts to tear another person down in order to lift oneself up.
Plus, I’m not a fan of passive aggression, believing more in the idea that if we have something to say to each other, we should say it. With kindness, of course. It’s a cool concept.
Except that for a second I thought maybe I had been passive-aggressive and deleted both posts. I caved to self-doubt. I broke my own rule. I spent a minute caring more about what other people thought…about what other people thought about me…than about wanting to share my own experience in the hopes that it might help someone else.
That is—for lack of a better description—a bunch of crap. I won’t do it again.
So next time you see a post and wonder: “Who is that about? Is she talking about me?”
I’m not. I’m talking about me. This whole writing thing is entirely about me. I create for me. I dream for me. I hope for me. I romanticize for me. I over-think for me. I over-feel for me. I make a bunch of awful mistakes for me. If anyone likes it, great. If everyone doesn’t, that’s fine too. I don’t always like it either. But I’m still going to do it.
And starting now, I’m going to do it with a little more confidence.
You should too, because I think you’re pretty great. I know you didn’t ask for my opinion, but here I am giving it to you anyway.
Hope you don’t mind.