Something has been on my mind lately. Perhaps you can relate, perhaps you can’t but I’ve found that other people sometimes get upset with me because I’m not who they want me to be. Whether it be a friend who wants me to be more available or a family member who would rather me agree with them even if I don’t.
One of my favorite existential philosophers, Jean-Paul Sartre, is famously quoted as saying “hell is other people.”
Sometimes I wonder, is it?
Now, I’ll admit that in my twenties I was so self-absorbed I couldn’t care less if I upset someone. I always thought it was their problem and they could go to hell but thankfully, I evolved beyond that stupid point of view as I got older (with much thanks to philosophy and my parents!) And now, I live the life I want but always strive to be as respectful and honest with others as possible. I figure that as long as I am those two things, how much more can others ask of me?
Well, you’d be surprised. I’ve had friends get upset because I have to work. A lot. And therefore am not available to hang out very often. I’ve had acquaintances “de-friend” me from Facebook because they couldn’t handle me thinking differently than themselves. I’ve had bosses actually not appreciate my hard work and rather, treat me like I have a problem for simply wanting things done right. I’ve even, swear to God, have had people get down-right angry with me because I lack in pop culture knowledge and have no idea what they’re talking about. No shit.
I’m not perfect. And I’m not trying to pretend I am but damn, sometimes I feel like just yelling out, “Why can’t I just be me?!” Being a filmmaker who supports herself with two other jobs, time is greatly limited for me. I sometimes don’t turn a tv on for months and yes, I prefer things to be done efficiently because why they hell would one not? And recently, I’ve met the man I want to be with and also have became an aunt to two beautiful nephews so not only am I very selective in how I spend my time, I don’t have much to spare.
That said, I truly believe great beauty lies in the connection between human beings and the relationships we have with one another. Quality has always trumped quantity in my book. So I must ask, when another starts to demand something of you or get upset for what you lack that they wish you didn’t, what grounds are they doing so on? What’s so wrong with being different if you don’t impose it upon another and force them to be that way? Why do we not celebrate our differences rather than get angry about them (unless of course force is used and then, that’s a whole other ballgame…)?
Well… I don’t have all the answers but after much deliberation and observation, I’ve come to a conclusion.
The happier you are with yourself, the more you back off at being angry with others…