You probably think this title is too obscene? Okay guys, I think it’s time for me to make a confession here.
I spent most of my short life caring too much about offending people, worrying if I am ‘cool’ enough, or wondering if people are actually judging me. And I am certain that most of you out there have been through this as well.
I could not take it anymore. It was stupid, and it was not good for my well-being. Spending time asking myself whether I was good enough made me a coward. But worse than that, at some point in time, I realized that I was the type of girl that was too polite to stand for something that I actually believed in. I always stood in the middle (neutral like Switzerland and compromise-minded like Belgium), maybe too often, and not where I actually wanted to stand, perhaps because I feared I would distance others from me, or whatever. But guess what? That changed some time ago. Now, it’s a whole other story.
Yes, dear wonderful readers, today the story is different.
We are University students; whatever it is that we are studying we will always be surrounded by a certain society that is made up of friends, classmates, acquaintances, tutors, professors, and others. We are encircled in an atmosphere of competition, career possibilities, actions, efforts, failures, accomplishments, events, alcohol, sex, hormones, etc. If we put it all together, it can be a recipe for disaster or a recipe for success. It all depends on how you are ‘cooking it’.
And we have to be serious now; we have to speak the truth.
Do you wonder if someone is talking shit about you? Whether your friends will approve your decisions? Are you some sort of problem-avoidant type of person? Are you worried that your classmates will disagree with your point of views? Are you afraid to show your true self because you know that it does not fall in what others consider normal?
Well, let me tell you something, it is time for you to stop giving a damn.
I have this theory for the moment, and maybe it will change in time, but right now it’s working very well for me (so basically, this post is an experiment). In order for you to understand my point of view, I will lay down a list of ‘truths’ about your life, about my life– about everybody’s life. So pay attention:
FIRST TRUTH: Everyone judges, people will always judge – It’s human nature.
Yes, and I have the feeling that deep inside, you already know it. It is happening right at this moment. There are actually people in this world who don’t like you, and guess what? There’s nothing you can do about it. Even if you try to convince others that you are a person who should be ‘liked’, there is little you can change about it. In fact, I believe that the more you stand up for something you truly believe in (even if not everyone approves) the more respect you evoke. People may not like this conduct, but so what? These are people who don’t like you anyway, why on earth should it be your duty to try to please people who don’t care for you and don’t like you in the first place?
I have met people in the past, who seem to have a real delusion that “everyone hates them” (oh god, how do these thoughts get inside one’s head?!) So if you are one of those, I’ll tell you something: that is not true. Not everyone hates you, that is just impossible. I am convinced that this is impossible because of this other theory: most people don’t even care that you’re alive, when you are walking around your faculty, notice that most people don’t even realize that you are there. And this, my friends, is something you have to embrace, and this is what I call ‘the real freedom’. The world is amazingly gigantic and you are a tiny little student who lives in a tiny little city, and for that reason you may do as you wish to do, and put aside all the thoughts you have about other people disliking you.
SECOND TRUTH: You don’t have the necessity to be ‘liked’ by others.
This may sound crazy, but personally I think it’s very cool, you’ll get used to it. Here’s another little truth: not only do most people not know of your existence. Some of the people who actually know you exist are judging you right now, but IT DOES NOT MATTER if they are.
I personally find this so liberating, and you may not see why yet, but you will, at some point. Check this out: when people don’t like you, nothing happens. The world keeps spinning. Your life does not end. These people are not breathing down your neck, or living under your roof, or sleeping with you at night. This may sound like a “high-school truism” but: the more you ignore the negative people around you, the better off you will be.
There is a stupid cliché (that I personally hate) “the best revenge is a life well lived”. Well, I have to admit that on one hand part of it is true, but on the other hand it is not true at all. A life well lived is nice, of course, but it cannot happen while you are worrying about who your critics are and what they are thinking about you all the time. So what can you do? Accept it and move on. If someone does not like you, don’t waste your precious time in trying to make them change their minds, because you know what? In the end, it is highly unlikely that your efforts will be worth it.
But in order to do this, it is necessary to not to worry about it, so that you can build up a good life for you. Your good life will never occur without the precious tool of not giving a damn.
THIRD TRUTH: There are others who DO matter.
Are you accepting the fact that most people on this planet are barely aware that you exist? Good. Are you also accepting the fact that those who don’t like you are a minority and they should not matter to you? Splendid!
Now you need to realize a fact that you may have forgotten in the process of worrying about those who do not like you: There are people who actually DO like you, and who DO care about you, and these are the ones whom you have to focus on.
Humans are weird. Because once we have a solid relationship with anyone (a partner, mother, father, friend, etc) we quickly begin to take them for granted and we move on to impress strangers instead– say, for example, your boss or a teacher at the University. Then, once we’ve impressed our teacher or our boss, we start taking him for granted as well, and so on, starting an endless sequence of indifference. It’s like we always prefer to impress and lure new people instead of focusing on what we already have. There are exceptions, of course, like always (and I congratulate you if you are one).
But these people (those who matter) understand your pursue or your cause. These are the kind of people who make you feel good when you are with them, they will make you laugh and make you feel like you can be yourself. These people are actually the ones who make you feel at ease. You have shared things with them. They are very important. Focus on them instead. Because these people may get tired of your shit, and they will leave as easy as they arrived.
FOURTH TRUTH: The ones who don’t give a damn will change the world, the rest will not.
What you need to take in mind in order to achieve something is to simply realize that some obstacles are actually immaterial (we create them inside our heads). This is true whether you’re trying to pass a Contract Law exam (haha yes, I am still traumatized) or trying to get to Mars.
Let go off the things that do not matter, and believe me, there are many things that do not matter in our lives that we could just put off; i; if you get rid of the garbage in your mind and focus on what you must do, if you realize that your time on this planet is limited and you just decide to make an effort now; it will be only then when you will be able to triumph. If you take all the garbage with you, believe me, you will end up living a life that you will never be interested in.
PS: Don’t think that I say this as if it’s easy. I know there are people who may be in a tough place right now, feeling very alone or like a loser; I know some first year students (especially those who are not from the Netherlands) may sometimes encounter a tough path to adapt to a new setting and a new society. Don´t worry, we’ve all been there (I was there just one year ago!). But you need to know that even the most successful and happiest people in the world have experienced this. They got past it, I did, and so will you.
So this is basically a short list of truths laid down here. Because this is a students blog, I would really like to know your opinion about this. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Would add anything?
Do you want to know what you should do next? Keep reading (here)
I am Nathalie, I was born and raised in a tiny island in the coast of Venezuela named Isla Margarita, a lovely place. I am studying European Law, and I love it. I came to Europe 1 year ago, and I am still managing to adapt to the European culture without losing my Latin-American essence. I am a big fan of the United Nations and I dedicate my free time in working and participating in MUNs and International-related projects. I also love photography, writing, and going out. Maastricht is my new "home away from home" and I am starting to like it very much (besides the weather, of course!).