I don't know if it was how I was brought up or how I was made, but I have spent many years - most in fact - of my life trying to be nicer. Like most people I have days/hours/moments when I say mean things, get judgey and just let rip with some acid-tongued nastiness that I rarely mean and quickly retract, but I do try to be nice and most of the time I don't have to try. Despite the snark, I'm a gentle person who can't bear the idea of hurting someone. Which frankly, has been a bit of a hindrance.
Y'know all those quote things on Pinterest that are supposed to fire you up into being your true self? Yeah those. I've pinned a good number of them. From the quietly confident 'The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them', to 'The older I get, the more everyone can kiss my ass'.
There have been many times when I've not done or said things because of the people I've known will see or hear them, but honestly, it has not been because other people might judge the deed or words as 'a bit rubbish' or that it won't compare well with somebody else's stuff/opinions. It's been because I don't want to hurt people's feelings. You're nodding aren't you? Especially if you're British. Don't voice any opinion which might make someone else feel in any way bad. Don't be even passively confrontational. Do not say or do anything that might make another person look at their own issues. Even writing that I feel myself thinking, 'And quite right too...how rude...how mean. You bad, mean person for doing that. You are responsible for the feelings of All The People and don't you forget it.'
So I sat on my opinions. I did not stand up too stridently for the things I believe in unless I was in like-minded company (can you say 'singing to the choir'?). I avoided making anyone feel uncomfortable. I didn't want to upset anyone or - and this is another manifestation of the same urge to maintain a status quo - be 'that person' who bores everyone into a coma with her preaching. After all, we all find our own paths in our own time, right?
Right. Only I often forgot about the importance of finding, and sticking to, my own.
A big part of my (r)evolution has been moving away from those habits and truly standing up for what I believe, saying what I think (with a modicum of care and respect if possible), and allowing others to deal with whatever it might spark in them. Being nice is important. Being kind and empathetic is hugely important. But being those things to the point of personal paralysis and silence is just plain wrong.
I believe in following a vegan lifestyle and a full adoption of that way of being is my ambition. I believe in veganism because of ethics, compassion, morals, spirituality, health, environment. The majority of people couldn't give a toss what I believe in but some get their buttons pushed by it. Only nowadays, as Martha Beck says,'I respectfully do not care.' They can deal with their own issues.
Finally stepping into this and unlocking some self-imposed chains feels good. I feel Life flowing back into parts of me that nearly withered and died. I am reclaiming who I really am. All of me.