This week has been a tough one. I’ve faced challenges and personal insecurities that I haven’t had to deal with since high school. Allow me to provide a bit of background from my experience as a high school student in Dunwoody.
I was very concerned with ‘cool’ – whatever that meant to me at the time. There was a group of guys that was the ‘cool’ crowd back then, and one house where everyone liked to hang out after school and on weekends. I was determined to be a part of that crowd. I worked my way in and made it a priority of mine to be a part of the group – it worked. I had a group of ‘friends’ who everybody wanted to be around. I lost sight of the things that matter in the grand scheme of things – family, genuine happiness, etc. I was very considerate of what others thought of me.
To make a long story short, I thankfully got out of Dunwoody to attend the University of Georgia, and I haven’t talked to that group of guys since. Here is why: they didn’t care about me. It wasn’t about being genuine friends who know each other’s ins and outs. It was about being cool. And we were cool. And we had meaningless relationships. My ‘friends’ did things behind my back or said things to my face that hurt me. They left a lasting impact. After making it through my freshman year of college, I tried to leave all of that behind me. I started a process of growth and learning (alot of it the hard way) that was very important to me. And at some point I started to care less and less about cool.
Well, this week has challenged me. I have begun to find that there are people in my life that remind me of those relationships from high school. There are people who would rather criticize me than support me. There are people who would rather make me look like a fool to others to feel important in the moment than have a conversation with me that helps me learn.
This post is dedicated to those that care – and those that don’t. I’ve had a lot of conversations this week with people that I care about to determine how I should handle these reminiscent emotions of being judged and having insincere relationships. I have determined that I will make every effort to allow this to be a growing experience. I will deal with old emotions. I will invest in the people around me that care about me and that I care about. I will keep doing what I love to do. And, most importantly, I will make every possible effort to turn the other cheek. Because, in the end, a person that does harm to others, through words or actions, must eventually deal with those actions on their own.
I have avoided using too many quotes in this blog in order to find my own voice and express myself in my own words, but I feel that two quotes particularly apply on this day, and I hope that you can appreciate their application in your life.
“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” – Matthew 5:39
And, finally, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time from Theodore Roosevelt – The Man in the Arena:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Have a wonderful day today. Be true to yourself. Turn the other cheek. Allow the critics to satisfy themselves as they will. Do what you love.
Here’s to you Gerald, Mid, Frances, Trey, James, Christie, Techo, Mom, and, of course, Nicole. Thank you for your support and advice this week.