Being a Loser 101: “What Will People Say?”
If you are like me and most everyone else, you have probably struggled with the “What will people say/think?” question at some point in your life. Our decisions on what we wear, where we live, what course we study, where we are employed, who our friends are, if or when we get married, who we marry, what car we drive (or don’t), etc. are oftentimes not really ours. We are all slaves to other people’s opinion of us.
A friend recently expressed his frustrations about the state of affairs in his marriage. Yes, everything seems to be working out fine from the outside—he has a lovely wife and a beautiful one-year-old son whom he would not trade for eternal life itself—but everything is falling apart deep inside. Yes, he is glad to have a family that looks up to him; he always wanted to have a family at some point. He simply feels overwhelmed with all the sudden changes that come with having a family…or so I thought.
He went on to explain how, despite wanting a family, he did not choose this one. Getting married was never really a choice of his own making. He had been in a relationship with the lady for the longest time but neither of them was interested in pursuing the relationship into the foreseeable future. They were not happy together. But then again, things happen as they sometimes do. They found out that they were expecting.
When you are the son of a pastor and your girlfriend’s father is also a pastor, raising a child out of wedlock is not among your options. And so, my friend’s fate was sealed. The only sensible thing that was expected to follow is the initiation of marriage procedures. Everything was done hastily before the pregnancy showed. Otherwise, what would people say?
Another friend recently went back to college for a new undergraduate course after successfully graduating from law school. She now wants to pursue her passion—computer science. For the longest time I knew her during her previous undergrad studies, she was constantly stressed about her choice of law over computer science. But why did she choose it anyway? Her father insisted that she had to embrace it like everyone else. He is a judge; both her elder sisters are practicing advocates of the High Court. What choice did she have? What would her family say?
I once read a quote by Frank Zappa…
If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.Frank Zappa
It is somewhat harsh, rude even, but the literal meaning aside, it is spot-on. Basing your decisions solely on what other people will think or say about you is a sure-fire way of losing big time in life. In a world where everyone expects something of everyone else, it is hard to hold on to who you are and what you want for yourself. It is hard, but not impossible. Just do you.