You’ve probably heard the analogy about apples and oranges — some people like one or the other and some like both. It’s kind of like people — some people like us and other people don’t. The first time I heard that I was quite young and stung by the fact that not everybody was going to like me. I wanted so badly to be liked. That’s one of the things I enjoy about age — it doesn’t matter anymore. It took me a long time to like myself and thankfully I kind of think I’m okay and it doesn’t matter what people think.
A lot of people in my era were brought up to be humble and not think too highly of themselves. I was only ever given the negatives about myself — I was clumsy, I was not pretty in fact my mother went as far as to say that no decent man would ever want me. This led me to make some very unwise decisions. Now I know she did not want me to get a swollen head and if that was her aim, she was very successful.
I sometimes think we may have gone overboard the other way these days but there are still so many people who suffer from low self esteem and it makes me sad.
A lot of what we experience is other people’s perceptions of us. Still some people take an instant dislike to us and there’s nothing we can do to make them change their minds. As an author, I know when I write that only about one-third of those who read my books will really love them. There will be others who think they are all right and then others who actively dislike them. I have learned not to worry about that as I write from my heart and know that what I write will touch the people that will resonate with what I write.
My husband was my biggest fan — it always helps when your partner loves what you do. I loved his singing and he loved my writing. When he died I really understood what grief felt like. I was recently moved to write a book about grief and what I had learned. I also realised that there are so many forms of grief so I interviewed a number of people. Healing toolboxes were added after each chapter and Theo Gard, a fellow Starts at 60 community member, painted the cover and gave me the title of Rainbows through Cobwebs — it is a beautiful cover. The analogy of a rainbow shining through the cobwebs of life has resonated with most readers.
The first person who read it disliked it intensely. I had a feeling she would and tried not to let it affect me although I did hastily read through it to see what had created such a negative response. Since then I have been so thrilled with the positive feedback and know once more it will find its target audience.
No, not everyone we meet or interact with is going to be enamoured by us and that’s okay. Now that I have accepted that it has freed me up to be my authentic self. I don’t have to try and change myself to suit others. How wonderfully freeing. Still it is also nice to be liked!