The photo of the cup of tea above is how I take my tea. I take it with almond milk, no sugar. Now I’m sure there are a lot of you for whom this tea is just very wrong and you have different tea preferences. Each tea drinker thinks a different shade of tea is the “perfect cuppa”, and there are people dotted all along the vast spectrum from taking it black (no milk in sight) to those at the opposite end who’s tea makes you question if they’re having a mug of tea or a mug of hot milk (no shade intended to those people btw!)
I used to volunteer in a bookshop where they had a sheet of paper on the wall of the back room which detailed how everyone takes their tea. And I remember feeling like I had completed my initiation into the team whenever my name and tea preferences were added to the list.
So you see, everyone has different preferences when it comes to tea, and it’s exactly the same when it comes to people. But just because one person doesn’t like to take their tea a certain way, doesn’t mean that the cup of tea is at all “bad”, “wrong” or “weird”, it simply isn’t that person’s choice. But for the next person it could be the most exquisite cup of tea they’ve ever had!
Basically I recently watched this interview with RuPaul on YouTube in which he said these words which have left me feeling so inspired ever since:
“…if you want to navigate this life, it’s important to lighten your load, and, you know, worrying about what other people have to say takes a lot of energy. I remember turning 30 and it really dawned on me that not only do I not have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like me…being fine with that is such a revelation.”RuPaul
It’s amazing how much easier and less complicated life can feel once we drop the weight of worrying about whether other people like us. The older I’m getting, the more I’m realising that instead of seeking validation from others, I should look to myself for this approval. Just like it’s impossible to satisfy everyone with one cup of tea, not everyone is going to like you. But you shouldn’t let that put you off from being your true self as then you’ll miss finding those for whom you’re right up their street!
To sum up my thoughts on this subject I wrote this poem:
You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea,
But don’t you think it’s a pity,
If out of fear that you might displease,
You keep your teapot under lock and key,
So that those for whom you’ll go down a treat,
Your protected personality they will never meet,
So you can stay behind the spout,
So that you’ll never be talked about,
But then you’ll also never meet those for whom you are something they don’t want to live without,
It’s a gamble for sure,
But better to be talked about,
Than for your words and laugh to dry up inside,
Leaving you in drought.
Throughout my teenage years I’ve struggled with being shy and awkward. At every teacher-parent interview the teacher’s critique was the same, “Quite quiet, should ask more questions.” I always felt like it was better to just stay quiet and not draw any attention to myself in order to not cause anyone any reason to dislike me. But by doing this I was also not really giving anyone much incentive to like me, if that makes sense? Basically I wish I hadn’t hid away and tried to appear plain as I actually think I would have gotten on a lot better if I had shown a bit more of my personality. Sure, there may have been a few who didn’t like me but I regret not revealing my true self more in school because I think there also would have been more people who did like me. And there’s only one you on this planet, so I think it’s a shame if you don’t show the real you, or if you try to be like somebody else.
So go on, show the world your weird and wonderful personality. Laugh your ridiculous laugh. Embrace your quirks. They’re all part of what makes you you, and there are people out there who will think that the “real you” is 100% brilliant, no changes required! So don’t shy away from showing your personality because you risk missing out on finding your people.
Keep reminding yourself of RuPaul’s words of wisdom as well as the good old few lines by Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Take care and be yourself,