I went to a football game this past weekend in Kansas City, Missouri where the Kansas City Chiefs played the Minnesota Vikings.
A lot of my friends from Minnesota went to the game, and I jumped at the opportunity to get away for a weekend and to see a game at an NFL stadium that I had never been to before.
In being from Minnesota, you would think that I was wearing Minnesota Vikings colors.
Well, I wasn’t. And I wasn’t wearing any Kansas City Chiefs colors either. I was staying true to my home roots and wore a green and gold Green Bay Packers jersey. Immediately as I threw the jersey on, I became public enemy #1.
75,000 people attended the game, and out of the few thousand other fans that I saw over the course of the day, maybe five at most came up to me and complimented me on my jersey.
The rest of the joyous interactions that I had throughout the course of the day included being called a few explicit names, being told to do unpleasant and inhumane acts, and even got punched twice… all for wearing a jersey.
Now, I get that I was kind of drawing attention to myself by wearing the jersey of the Minnesota Vikings biggest rival and by a team that had just beaten the Kansas City Chiefs the week prior, but I didn’t think that it was going to be that big of a deal – especially not a big enough deal to get punched over.
At first, I was kind of taken back by the actions of others, but then it almost became a game to me.
Striving For Acceptance
See, all my life, I had been the type of person who sought the approval and acceptance of others. The old me would have taken the jersey off just to try and fit in more and be liked by those around me. But the new me wanted to see just how long I was willing to embrace my differences and how much I could take.
Hours went by, and to my surprise, my jersey still hadn’t come off.
With every minute that passed, I was proving to myself that I don’t need to be accepted by others, nor do I want to be. Especially if those others are willing to go out of their way to put somebody else down simply for wearing a jersey from another sports team.
When I was called names by others and even when I was punched, I simply just stood there and accepted it. Not because I didn’t feel like doing the exact same, but because had I done something back, I wouldn’t be any better than those who started the issue in the first place.
Okay, now I’m not saying that I am better than anybody else, but you get the gist. It wouldn’t solve anything if I have retaliated. I would only be feeding into the negativity of others.
What I Learned From Being Hated
I learned a lot from those who were directing their hate towards me, but more importantly, I learned a lot about myself.
From those who were directing their hate towards me, not only did I learn that these are the people that I don’t want in my life, but also that their actions are ones in which I never want to develop.
In being hated by others, it made me realize that I never want to put anybody else in the position that I was in, so no matter what, I need my actions to be positive and encouraging towards everyone.
On a personal note, I learned that I am me, and being me is my greatest power. I don’t need to be approved by others to love my life. I love my life regardless of whether others love me or not.
It’s kind of a cliche answer, but I had never tested myself like that before. To prove that I was willing to be myself despite thousands of others telling me differently, that goes to show just how far I’ve come over the last year.
How Does This Help You?
Here’s the deal, while we all want to be liked by everyone around us, that’s just not realistic. There are always going to be people who are going to tell you who you should and shouldn’t be, who aren’t going to approve of the choices you make, and who aren’t going to like you no matter how hard you try to get them to. You just have to be okay with that.
When others tell you how to live your life, don’t listen to them!
Take what others say into consideration, but never let anybody tell you how to live your life. This is your one life to live, and you don’t need to have the approval of others to live your life to the fullest. Regardless of what others think of you or what you do with your life, just be sure to live your life to the fullest.
Yesterday’s post: What It’s Like Being An Enrollment Counselor