Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some people just plain shouldn't matter to you

"About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won't like you at all."
- Rita Mae Brown, American writer and social activist (1944- )

There are some tough life lessons among those few words.

Being who you are is not "about all you can do in life." But it is the wisest choice. And that's what Rita Mae meant. It's a form of regionalism, meaning that her audience in the part of the country for which she was writing at the time would understand her intention completely.

"Some people will love you for you." That's comforting. In fact, it's said that more people likely love you than you realize. Just die and come back to peek in at your funeral or the interment service and you might be surprised at how many people love you because you made a positive influence in their lives. They won't say it to your face, but you likely wouldn't say the same things to their faces either. We save that for after people die. No one said it made sense.

Of course, that statement by Rita Mae assumes that there is something to love about you. Which is a matter for consideration for some people who think too much about themselves and care little about others.

"Most will love you for what you can do for them." Ouch! I doubt that means the greedy ones who try to suck you dry, as they don't love anyone. Again, it means that you have the ability to be a positive influence on the lives of many people. Many will love you for the help you have given them and others will respect you for what you have done for others.

"Some won't like you at all." That's about as plain as it gets.

We need to accept that some people will never like us. Some will dislike us, try to take advantage of us, even to use us for their own gain, or will try to hurt us because they are hurting and it somehow makes them feel a little better to see us hurt too.

It doesn't mean that we should mistrust everyone. It means that we need to learn ways to distinguish between those we can trust and those we shouldn't commit much of ourselves to.

That last is one of the three hardest lessons I have learned in my life. Not just that some people won't ever like me, but that those people don't matter.

The mud and pebbles that collect in the ridges of the soles of my boots as I walk in the woods matter to me. But the people who dislike me don't matter at all.

They have a right to live, as do I. I have a right to see that they live their lives in a lovely place that is as far from me as they can get. And I will wish them well. But not much more.

As children most of us are taught that what others think of us is important. Then many of us spend much of our lives trying to get past that lesson to the point where we understand that some people just aren't worth the trouble. Or our trust.

The lesson we should be teaching children is that some people matter, other don't. Learn how to tell the difference.

Choose wisely, taking into consideration that for every relationship choice we make there are consequences.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to help you tell the difference between the good guys and the ones that don't matter. Shouldn't matter.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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