December 29, 2020
A few months ago I sat ensconced in pillows, on our sofa scrolling through my phone. (#mostof2020.) I came across an apology video from Ellen DeGeneres on Instagram after the whole debacle she had this summer. I didn’t know the ins and outs of what happened…I don’t pay much attention to celebrity news, but I remember one line from the video where she said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “If you ever pick a catchphrase, don’t make yourself the ‘be kind lady’.” I chuckled and scrolled to the next video in my feed thinking how true Ellen’s words were. She is the “be kind lady.” And because of this label she gave herself, society started to put so much pressure on her to constantly be not just a person, but the person who is kind. She doesn’t get to have a bad day. She doesn’t get to be angry or sad or mad because we expect her to only be kind.
AND THAT IS ENTIRELY IMPOSSIBLE AND WAY TOO MUCH PRESSURE FOR ANY ONE HUMAN ON THE PLANET. EVER.
A few days after seeing that video and having completely forgotten about it, I was on the phone with a friend of mine discussing my branding. I brought up that I was feeling uncomfortable with the phrase, “friend to all” in my Instagram bio because I started thinking, what if I can’t be everyone’s friend? Am I lying? Should I be pretending?
I would love more than anything to be able to say I am friends with everyone I come into contact with, but that’s quite literally not possible. Friendship requires effort. It requires time and energy and a feeling of security. Friendship is also a two-way street, so how can I sit here and continually offer friendship if my definition of what it means to be a friend can’t possibly be met. I thought about Ellen. She became the “be kind lady” and then people expected her to be kind 100% of the time. I didn’t want to be “the friend lady.” I didn’t want to do that to myself. I wanted to be honest about what I could give and what I am capable of receiving because my definition of friendship is very long and specific and I cannot offer that to every single person I come across in life. So, I took that part of my tag off. I got honest with myself about what I can offer people and it got me thinking on a scale of not just what I can offer people through my work, but also in closer relationships.
We need to be honest with ourselves about what we can offer and what we can’t. Setting realistic expectations for other people about what you have the ability to give is a start. Don’t just promise the world because you want someone to like you if that’s not what you have to offer—if you promise what you don’t have to give (in time or energy or what have you) everyone ends up disappointed and sometimes deeply hurt. You are better off promising what you know you can offer in personal and professional life because:
1) The people that are meant for you will stick around if they are meant for you no matter what you can offer (My dad always says: if it’s meant for you there’s no way you can make it not work no matter how much you screw up, but if it’s not meant for you there’s no way you can make it happen no matter how hard you try…brutal, honest truth, thank you, Dad.)
2) You will feel less stressed because you won’t constantly have the feeling you aren’t living up to unrealistic expectations.
Let’s start the new year off right by starting to be honest with the most important person, ourselves. You deserve to not spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to be everybody’s everything. There’s no humanly way possible. You just need to be your everything and all the rest will fall into place.
I love you, 2020 is almost over HALLELUJAH. XOXOX, CAMDW