This is my Pomeranian (pig), Blanca. We refer to her as a pig because she loves to eat, snorts and oinks more often than she barks, waddles without bending her knees, and has bright pink skin with black spots and a curly tail.
Blanca is the queen of her world, and the world of any human she happens to cross paths with. I didn’t choose her to be my dog/pig. She chose me to be her human.
She likes very few people (and if you are not one of them she lets you know it). She sleeps almost all day and her “walk” consists of me carrying her around the block while I walk my other dog.
She has a bell on her collar (bad idea) that she rings when she wants anything (including the fan, heater, or ac turned on).
If she isn’t tucked in properly at night (with at least 10 minutes of good night pets and massages) she throws a tantrum that can last up to an hour and includes her pouncing on my other dog, kicking up her blankets and making irritated, grunting noises.
Blanca is… well she’s Blanca.
She is unapologetically herself and she has taught me a lot about authenticity.
When I was younger I thought that there were rules to get people to like you.
You had to:
Be willing to compromise
…. I tried to be those things (some of them came more naturally than others). If you want to know whether they worked or not you would have to ask someone who knew me.
Regardless of effectiveness the problem was that I always had to “be” something and that that something was never actually “me”. I learned to narrow myself down to a list of traits rather letting myself be a real human. I monitored my thoughts and actions; constantly replaying scenarios: Was that nice? Should I have said it different? Was it interpreted wrong? I should be friendly. I need to speak up. I need to find a good gift. I need to do what the other person wants…
I couldn’t always be all those things so no wonder I wasn’t well-liked (in my head if not in reality, but probably in reality too).
She is none of the things on that list… But almost everyone who spends time with her ends up loving her. She can be the biggest jerk in the world to someone (she bit my niece in the face—she has no teeth, so it did nothing and my niece thought she was getting kisses) and that person still loves her.
I don’t get it. Why is she so lovable?
Being cute might help, but a lot of dogs are cute. And even after I’ve given her a zombie-esq haircut she remains just as mean and just as lovable.
You know what I think it is? I think it is because she is herself and she does NOT care what anyone or anything thinks about it.
I’m not promoting being a jerk to get people to like you and I’m not saying that everyone will like you all the time (or at all).
What I’m learning though, is that authenticity goes much further than a list of idealized adjectives ever will. Being yourself (and unapologetically so) gives people the chance to know you and more importantly it gives you the chance to know yourself. Knowing the true you, gives others the option of loving the true you, unconditionally. That’s the kind of love most of us are looking for isn’t it?
When I focused on being only a list of positive adjectives the out come didn’t matter. If a hundred-people liked me or if no one did, I still felt lonely. I felt scared. If anything, I felt more scared and less liked because I kept thinking: if they knew the real me… if I slip up… if I act wrong… then they will realize that they never liked me in the first place.
I also realized that I didn’t know myself and that I didn’t even have a “self” to know. I was just a list of adjectives.
People may or may not like me now…
I might irritate them, I might be too flaky, too weird, aloof, irritable, impatient, cocky…
Probably a lot of other things…
but it doesn’t bother me as much (still a work in progress) because I am learning to like myself and I am learning be a real, whole person instead of a patchwork of words.
Anyway, that’s what I wanted to share with you today. The lesson: Don’t get lost in definitions of who you are, just be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Freeing yourself from adjectives is the first step towards being yourself and loving yourself. The rest of the world’s opinion becomes much less important when you sincerely love who you are—flaws and all.
Wishing you the best. 😊