I don’t like being defined, I especially don’t like being defined by one thing. I don’t like the seeming limitations that comes with definitions. I strongly believe there is power in definition. There is incredible power in defining things rightly. I am careful with slapping titles on myself or on others. When people ask what I do? I realize I am almost always thoughtless, not for a lack of word to describe what I do but for a lack of word that captures what I do but also leaves room for possibilities of what I can evolve into over time. I have always believed the dictionary needs to be reviewed not just in adding new meanings to words but in totality, changing the structure of what meanings should even be.
A lot of people call me a writer and I try to shy away from it. Some call me a blogger and I just smile, others call me a Christian blogger and I don’t even bother saying anything.
I noticed that these titles comes with expectations and these expectations varies per individual. And because things mean differently to people, I become guilty of things I do not even know simply because I am not living up to someone’s expectations or assumptions of who a woman, writer or Christian blogger is and should be. I find this somewhat strange and funny at the same time. That there are people out there who like me because my life somehow conforms to their expectations of who a woman/writer/Christian blogger should be. It is also quite strange to realize that some people also do not like me because I do not exactly fit into mainstream definitions or expectations of who a woman/writer/ Christian blogger should be.
I have been thinking lately.
Why do we choke people with our expectations?
Why do we assume people are supposed to live/write for our expectations?
Why do we want people to aspire to getting liked by us?
I am laughing as I am typing this because I can picture this playing out in real life situations.
Why do we think we liking or not liking someone is directly connected to a person thriving?
And when we see someone doing well without our likes, there is this thing on the inside that rises up, a kind of resentment?
Because somewhere in your mind, If you don’t like her then she won’t thrive because somehow your liking her is the stamp of approval she needs to get ahead in life and she has to do what she has to do to earn it?
Who says your approval is the ultimate endorsement people need?
Why do we place so much importance on ourselves?
Affirmation is good, and it has been a huge part of my journey. I like it when people like me, I love it when people love me but I realize that there are some kinds of love I cannot receive. When your love for me comes with conditions that stifles my authenticity, I reject it.
I am reminded of an incident that happened to me in the University. This leader had made it clear and by clear, I mean in a meeting that the woman I was didn’t represent her definition and expectations of who a woman should be so I needed to work on myself.
A woman was supposed to be all tough, a fantastic multi tasker, sweet, coy, warm and the woman I was at that time didn’t represent that. So, the meeting was called to teach me how to work on myself.
Because I had fallen short of the standard.
I was LIVID.
Somewhere in my mind I was actually thinking, shouldn’t the example be Christ? And at what point did we promote and elevate ourselves to the standard, femininity and womanhood should be measured by?
That meeting was counter productive.
People have a right to choose how they want to be. And even in their choosing, they shouldn’t choose to be like you or another christian, they should choose to be like Christ.
He alone is the standard. Not you and definitely not your expectations.
That meeting left a deep impression in me.
That leader loved me the way she knew how to love but I couldn’t receive love from her especially with the terms it was coming with. Her love was choking me, even at a distance, so I stepped away.
She was right about me working on myself. I took her advice and did. Although, my decision to work on myself wasn’t motivated by the desire to get her or anyone else to like me, it was because I TRULY WANTED TO BECOME A BETTER PERSON.
Love is given to be received and usually, love should grow and groom people. If your love doesn’t give room for me to be me, I do not receive it and gradually, I start to detach from you, first emotionally and eventually physically.
We live in a world where people are constantly trying to tie you down with expectations. And these expectations do not leave room for you to live your truth. If your expectations comes with the need for me to reduce myself or shrink myself or be a certain way that conflicts with who I am and everything I believe in then it is toxic and I will not live by it just because I am supposed to or because it is the norm.
I also give out this grace to people too; and so I try as much as possible not to stifle or judge others by my own expectations.
Crux of the story: Having expectations of people is not bad, judging people or wanting to control them based on it, is where the problem lies.
Moral of the story: Let’s learn live and let live.