• Lara Flanagan

You can't be everybody's cup of tea

A little while ago, I received a message from someone I have known online for so long that they feel like a friend. The message simply said, “you do carry the awe & wonder gene!” It made my morning. That same day, I received a message from someone who I don’t know at all saying, “I am so sick of your toxic positivity. Get bloody real.” Guess which message I obsessed about more.

It made me think about a lot of things. Growing up I had a grandmother who could be a little on the cruel side. She would pick favourites and play us off against each other. I was never a favourite, but I really, really wanted to be. I would obsess about what to say or do when I saw her to get in her good books. If I had achieved something at school, I would save it up to tell her, thinking that finally, I would get some praise. Instead, she would say, “yes that is nice, but isn’t it a pity you can’t get a brush through that hair of yours.” She was a big fan of movies and had raved at some point about how wonderful Jane Campion was. So I saved up the fact that I had seen The Piano to get in her good books. When I told her that I had seen The Piano and how amazing it was, she laughed at me and said, “you would like that, that movie was so unbelievable and completely ridiculous!” I gave up at that stage, though I never stopped wondering why I could not have been her favourite.

It was only years later after she had passed, that I stopped caring as I finally realised it didn’t matter.

My obsessing about 2 different messages reminded me of worrying about my Grandmother. Why is it that we put so much effort into people’s negative opinions of us, because in all honesty, they should be the last opinions that matter?

When I found myself googling, “toxic positivity” and reading articles like “9 signs you suffer from #toxicpositivity”, I put both comments away in my memory bank and tried to forget them.

Recently I was rewatching a Brene Brown talk and I was reminded of one of her quotes that I love, “Nothing has transformed my life more than realising that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

It has been something I thought I had embraced over the last 5 years or so, but I was reminded with my reaction to toxic positivity versus awe and wonder, that I am not quite there yet. It is something that I hope I can teach my kids to believe so it doesn’t take them 45 years to stop measuring their worth by other people’s opinions.

We all care what other people think, to say otherwise I think, is a bit of a fib. But what I am increasingly realising is that it should only be the opinions of the people that matter that count.

What I also do not understand is that anything you watch or read online or on social media is voluntary. You choose what you read and who you follow. I don’t use FB personally as I am on there so much for work and my business however, I do follow accounts on Instagram for inspiration and education. I have a simple rule though, if they don’t inspire me or educate me, I unfollow and disengage. I have lost track of the number of accounts on Instagram I have unfollowed for those reasons. I am not interested in sending nasty messages or making negative comments. I simply unfollow accounts when they are not my cup of tea.

You see you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that is ok, nor do you have to be their coffee. You can just simply be a cup of tea without worrying about the coffee lovers or the tea haters.

After some weeks of reflection, a bit of self-love talk, and a reminder of what is important from Brene Brown, I returned to my two messages. I deleted the toxic positivity one and I focussed on the awe and wonder one. Awe and wonder filled with rainbows, unicorns and endless magic.

We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can choose how we react to things. I am choosing awe and wonder. Life is too short for anything else.

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