I recently started watching a show from the 90s that has gained a significant amount of criticism for various reasons. Much of it I agree with, yet I still found the show (for the most part) enjoyable to watch.
One particular bit of criticism that I didn’t agree with was that against the main character. People raised points of her making silly mistakes, being selfish and making poor choices.
However, as much as I understood the criticism, the show was not created to present the characters as perfect. Plus, it’s unrealistic to expect all things to pass the test of time. I think for may people the real issue was that their perception of the main character had changed from good to bad.
It went from thinking she was cool and liberated to thinking that she would have been better off if she…
She went from being aspirational to being an example of what not to do.
And so I think it’s much more useful to take the show for what it was instead of focusing on this idea of a perfect character. And if that feels difficult, think about you’re own life. It is more than likely that the ideas you had and choices you made in the 90s are not ones you carry with you in present day.
Robin Hood is infamously known as the one who ‘steals from the rich to give to the poor.’
He is an interesting character because he forces us to see things from a different point of view.
If asked, we would probably all say that stealing is wrong but would consider it less wrong if it was for the sake of those less fortunate.
And so we don’t consider Robin Hood to be a ‘bad person’. He’s someone who does a bad thing thing for a good reason.
What would happen if we extended that level of awareness to people in real life, not to accept or encourage ‘bad’ behaviour but to simply acknowledge that we understand.
At you’re best you are joyful, kind, considerate, a good listener, focused, playful and caring.
But sometimes you’re also inconsiderate, moody, a bad listener, you have your head in the clouds (as in you’re distracted and not present), you’re rigid and harsh.
It’s so easy to attach the idea of who you are to you at your best and think of everything else as you at your worst. But I don’t think that’s the case. You’re a culmination of all those things.
We attach negative connotations to certain acts, habits or behaviours then allow that to dominate how we view ourselves. There is nothing wrong with exhibiting traits that contrast with you at your best, as long as you don’t allow the unhelpful traits to dominate.
For many people if they give it some thought they’ll find that a large proportion of their character is based on who they think they are.
Often those opinions are made at a young age without any real judgement. Yet you carry them with you into adulthood without even checking to see if your mind has changed.
It could be something as simple as a food that you don’t eat. Perhaps as a child you weren’t willing to explore with what you ate so you told yourself ‘I’m not the kind of person that eats that kind of food’ or ‘I don’t like to experiment with what I eat, I just like simple food’. Twenty years later you’re still saying the same thing and maybe that’s true but maybe you haven’t changed.
We get so attached to the idea we create of who we think we are that we close ourselves off to anything that challenges that.
You might be under the impression that the media you consume has no influence over you.
But one day you might find yourself saying, doing or buying something that doesn’t quite feel like you.
For example, on a podcast a woman spoke about how she noticed that when watching a particular reality tv show she was more argumentative.
I think it’s impossible to not be influenced whatsoever and it’s important to be aware of how you’re influenced by the things you consume.
Some examples of the things we consume are: YouTube, blogs, TV, music and social media.
Consumption of those things can influence your career choice, how you spend your money, what you value, your self esteem, how you communicate, the way you view life and so on.
I can openly admit that I’m aware of how I’m influenced by things. An easy example is music because I have playlists for when I’m feeling blue and for when I need a pick me up.
Something I unconsciously started doing from a young age is thinking about the way I want to feel or the kind of person I want to be and consuming things that align with that.
If that’s not something you already do, I think it’s worth a try.
Things get much more interesting if we think of ourselves as actors.
Something I’ve learnt is that people probably aren’t going to go above and beyond for you. But if you practice confidence and you make yourself visible you’re more likely to get your needs met.
It’s like actors in a show. The main character will always get more attention than the one that just plays a minor role. And in the workplace you get to choose which role you play.
Of course it’s not easy putting yourself in the main role whereas it’s as easy as cherry pie to take the role of a background character.
When you play in the background there’s little expectation, you don’t get much attention and if you don’t show up nobody cares.
So, what happens when the background character wants more responsibility and the opportunity to show up and actually do something that matters, like a main character.
Turns out you can’t have it both ways.
We all have our Veruca Salt moments every once in a while.
Can you think of a time when you got annoyed/angry when you didn’t get what you want?
Maybe you had an idea of what you wanted in your mind but found that the other people in your life didn’t comply with that vision.
Granted you might not have shouted and your wants may not have been expensive things for others to pay for but the idea behind it is the same.
The basis of Veruca Salt is someone who is selfish, inconsiderate and greedy.
Yet she was also someone that knows what they want, was determined and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
We all have moments when we put our wants, needs and desires above all else. In truth it’s not always a bad thing as long as you don’t put yourself in danger or treat others poorly in the process.
Which one are you?
The first kind is the one we all know and love (or perhaps just tolerate through excessive eye rolls). This person is problem focused. They find a problem with anything and everything.
What’s worse is if you offer a potential solution they’ll probably find a problem with that too.
The second person is solution focused. They’ll complain as a way to vent their frustrations but then they’ll move on and do something about it.
The first person never manages to progress nearly as much as the second.
Also known as complaining about all the things other people have.
‘She’s the same age as me but I’m pretty sure she’s a millionaire (or at least not far from it), she successful, beautiful, has great personal style, has more freedom, more friends and probably more of something else beginning with F, like Fendi perhaps. I definitely can’t afford Fendi.
Her life is so much better than mine.’
What’s the use in making comparisons if it doesn’t feel good or it makes you forget all the good things your life is full of.
How about instead of looking at what other people have, focus on yourself.
You have a challenging and interesting job, you have a few close special friends, you make people laugh, you’re generous, you spend your free time creating and you’re an avid learner.
Sure you don’t have tonnes of money but that’s not what has you feeling discontent because there will always be someone who has things you don’t have.
You feel discontent because you’re playing a losing game whilst trying to convince yourself that you can win.
You feel discontent because you’re not happy with where you’re at and you’re using other people as a distraction from how you feel about yourself.
But maybe you could face those feelings and figure out what you can do to change the way you feel for the better.
If you’re wondering what she carries with her, the answer is fear.
It’s in her voice, the way she talks. You’ll hear the words not quite flow because she’s second guessing herself, so worried about not saying the wrong thing that she can never say the right thing.
It’s in the way she walks, with her head down and no eye contact. She sort of stomps along as if to make her presence known but all she wants to do is hide.
And if you watch her you’ll see it in the way she picks at her fingers, fidgets in her seat and constantly observes her surroundings as though there is something to fear.
But there is something to fear, at least there is in her world.
There’s mistakes, embarrassment and comparison.
And it’s in the way she moves. She’s so tense and rigid that it feels uncomfortable to relax her muscles.
She is so full of fear and she carries it with her wherever she goes.
If she could only let it go it would change her life and she knows it but she doesn’t know how.
Even when she can’t feel it, it’s still there lingering.
But most people have no idea and so they just think she’s a little odd but she’s just trying to be normal.