One of the most popular mantras these days is about being yourself and doing what makes you happy. The focus is on self-satisfaction. And finding your peace in being secure only in what you think of yourself, and at best, indifferent to what people think of you.
And there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong with running my race my way and not living for public opinion. Many people have been ruined because they were trying too hard to live up to an image. But what we often forget is that the “Image” is a reflection of what we have portrayed. We choose the image in the first place, the expectations that society holds us to. And that’s why it’s important to portray a true image. But this is not a lesson on personal integrity.
What inspired this post?
Earlier today, I sent an assignment to a course instructor I met in person earlier in the year. During our face to face interaction, I deliberately put my bestest (sic) foot forward with him. He was impressed and we’ve maintained email contact since then. I sent him an assignment to grade today and I will admit that I did only the barest minimum on the paper. I didn’t think it had serious consequences, and I was comfortable getting only 60% on it.
But then he sent me a note that went along the lines of, “When I saw your submission pop up in my email, I thought it would be easy to give you 100% but you haven’t done the work for 100%. You need to do… and resubmit.”
He wasn’t going to let me get away with a 60%. My first thought was how unfair it was that I’d have to redo the assignment. My second thought was why couldn’t he just let me go with the 60%? Why did he even hold me to high standards sef?
But he does because I set the pace in our earlier interactions. He knows I can do better and he’s challenging me to not be a lazy twat. On further reflection, I felt honoured that he was willing to take time out of his day to craft me specific feedback.
I remembered all the other times I balked against more responsibilities, or challenges, or assignments. I remembered all the stories I wanted to send out for review to my writing mentors, but never did because I knew they’d call me out for taking the easy route. I thought of all the people who challenge me to do better because they know I can. Because challenges will make me grow, make me more Osemhen than I am now.
But then, you ask, where do you draw the line? It will always be a matter of discretion. There will be people whose comments (whether delivered in love, or with a swift kick to the you-know-where) will challenge you to be your best self and then there will be others whose comments you will choose to ignore. Ask yourself if the feedback will make you a better you, or not.
*steps off soap-box* I have an assignment to rewrite.