I know what my biggest weakness in my life is. It’s something that’s been with me since I was a young kid. What is it? It’s the tendency I have to own what other people think of me.
I know how this began and why it developed into a repeating pattern, but I’ve been relatively unsuccessful in fixing it. I’ve done enough work in my life though to at least know it started with having an alcoholic mother and my codependent relationship with her, with me constantly vying for her unconditional love and undivided attention. Typically, I never got much of that no matter how hard I tried so I regularly tried instead to get it from others, which is when I really noticed I had the tendency to own most everything people said about me, especially the negative. I clearly remember people back then saying more than not that I was such a nerd, a dork, a geek, a loser, etc. And I believed them. That didn’t change until I became more of a chameleon in life, blending into my surroundings with each person I spent time with. I found it really helped in reducing all those negative comments about me. Sadly, I kept that fakeness up for a very long time, well over two decades really, until I finally reverted back to a much more authentic self. Unfortunately, becoming my authentic self has also caused a tremendous amount of polarization with others, especially in recent years, leaving me a target far too often for other people’s negative comments.
When someone on my blog not too long ago called me a “hot mess”, it really hurt because I owned it, but I know I shouldn’t have. When I spoke of my faith being stronger over any fears I had of COVID when the pandemic first started, I received an amazing amount of backlash and hatred, leaving me quite miserable and down. Talking about my past addictions as openly as I have has also led to many negative comments too, leaving me more down than up. In fact, much of the negative things that are said of me on social media or behind my back tend to stem from my articles or my speaking engagements. I seem to frequently be a target for people’s negative opinions the more truthful and authentic I am in life.
One thing that has helped me in this though is knowing that when someone says negative things about me, it says more about them, rather than me. I’ve learned that those negative things people say are generally projections from their own lives, from their own deep-seated insecurities. It’s essentially them just pointing the finger away from themselves so that they don’t have to look in the mirror at their own stuff. Regardless, here’s the bottom line that I know to be true about myself regardless of what other people think of me.
I’m a good person with a good heart and I do my best these days to help others. I have far more of a selfless nature now than a selfish one and I genuinely love and accept everyone for who they are, no matter what. Why I get attacked regularly, why people form such strong negative opinions of me, and why I often hear not so nice things about me, I’m not exactly sure. What I am sure of is that I don’t have to own them anymore. God loves me just as I am and I need to start doing a much better job of doing the same for myself, knowing that what others think of me, especially when it’s negative, has nothing to do with me, it has all to do with them and their own imbalanced natures.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson