I don’t think I have to apologize for being who I am

It irks me no end to know that everytime I move a muscle, I’m being judged. I try not to think about about it. But sometimes, it stares at me in the face and I have no choice but to confront it. I know that a certain level of judging cnnot be helped and sometimes may even be needed (like in an interview) but unwanted unwarrented judging really annoys me. Why? It’s as if I have to apologize for being who I am. The point is: I don’t see why.

I’m a unique individual inhabiting my own unique space in the world. Unless and untill I trample on another’s space or hurt them in any way, I don’t think I have to apologize. Most people would consider me a happy-go-lucky, loud, garrulous person. (Not that I’m not ever down. I have my ups and downs like any normal person.) I know that this is the way other people perceive me from the way people speak about me. Apparently, that’s not the norm. What is the norm? I don’t know. Someone some where is quiet. Someone (like me) some where is loud and garrulous. Someone (like me) some where has to be ‘tolerated.’ Someone somewhere laughs loudly (Hell, I do. So shoot me!) Someone some where is too tall. Or too short. Or too funny. Or too bald. Or too young…. the list is endless. I think that these characteristics are treated as character flaws. And that is what I disagree with. Imagine a world where everyone is exactly like the other. What kind of life would we have then?

Most of the time when someone makes a comment that makes me feel judged (good or bad) I ask why. I want to know the reasons. Why, today someone made a comment that my relatively quiet neighbour at work has to tolerate me. (Not the exact words, but this is pretty much the gist of it.) Tolerate because he is quiet, and I’m not. I still don’t get the connection. How come no one asks me why or how I have to tolerate him? (I don’t have to. He’s a nice guy.) So, I had to get to the crux of the matter. I tried asking them, ‘So, what does XYZ have to tolerate?” The answer quite simply is me. But no, the person just shut up. As if he/she knows that he/she is wrong or has spoken too much or maybe I have heard too much. Why can’t people just let other people be?

Most of the jokes that I have heard about me are centered around judging me. Some people ask, “Why are you taking this so seriously? This is just a joke.” I have nothing to tell them. Not because I don’t have an answer, but how do you tell people that, “Hello! I don’t like being judged. Not even in jest.” Or “Don’t you know? I’m not what you judge me to be.”

I guess all of us do some amount of judging at any given point in time. But I feel that judging prejudices a person’s perception of another’s abilities. I’m not flawless. I have judged and I have been proven wrong. I have graciously accepted it too. But I try consciously not to judge. Each time, I’m lean towards making a judgement, I check myself. I say to myself, “Maybe I could be wrong.. Maybe it’s a bad day. I hope things get better.”

A certain amount of judging is necessary for survival. Like when you need to decide if the guy who is following you can really hurt you. Or if the client really likes your work. Or if that good-looking guy is really interested in you. But it’s the petty judging that makes me feel belittled that really irks me. It’s neither helpful nor constructive, and certainly makes me feel uncomfortable. Moreover, I don’t think I have to explain why I am the way I am to anyone.

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8 thoughts on “I don’t think I have to apologize for being who I am

  1. Someone else tells you that your quiet neighbour at work has to tolerate you..

    ..THAT… is bothering you ?

    Wow. Looks like you don’t have too much to do at work.

    Try being someone you’re not, and you will wonder if you can tolerate yourself.

    Popeye to the rescue
    I Yam what I Yam.

    BTW, compliments of any kind make ya feel good. But its only the criticism that gets one thinking..

  2. Check out this book – Leadership and Self Deception. It is the best book on self-introspection that I’ve read in western authorship.

    As long as you identify with your ego, comments such as the one you received are going to threaten your self-image and make you angry. You can’t prevent others from talking, but you can prevent yourself from perceiving comments as threats.

    At the risk of preaching, try having learning conversations that help you get to the root of your identity.

  3. Heyyy JM, long time no see…. yeah Popeye did it for me!! I loved that msg!!! I agree with you on the fact the criticism that gets us thinking.
    Btw, that remark got me thinking for sure but that doesn’t mean that I have nothing else to do at work…. It was probably because it like the proverbial last straw. Bah… u think I have no work at work… think again…

  4. Heyy Somik, contrary to what you think I wasn’t angry.. irked, yes, irritated yes..angry no…Writing helps purge all that feeling/s for me. But your right, I did peceive this remark as a threat. Will try to follow your advice though I can tell you, I ain’t that good at following advice!

    About my identity, I’m too old not to be aware of myself…. but there are certain things that I’m yet to discover like what I want to do for the rest of my life. But apart from that, I pretty much know who I am.

    Thanks for the advice.. will try looking that book up. To be entirely honest, I’m not into self-help books. I think that people (including me) should work out their problems themselves.

  5. Self-help books do have a reputation for being overly simplistic and claiming to be silver bullets. That reputation comes from the rotten ones. The good ones are not like that. Curious if you’ve read, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.”

  6. I have heard about that book but never have been tempted to pick it up. I think the best lessons in life are not overstated in bold, highlighted in neon, underlined in red….as they appear when they get converted into a self-help book. They come at the most inappropraite times from unasuming people and stick to your head like bubblegum! My last self help book was the “Chicken soup” series and I’m yet to recover from the syrupy sweetness it tried to portray life as. But I respect your choice… will try to borrow it at least:)

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