There’s an exhilarating freedom in knowing that you’ve given something your all. That, no matter how it turns out or explodes, it won’t be because you gave up, didn’t try hard enough, or didn’t speak your truth. This is where I remind you not to be the reason you don’t succeed. Not to be the reason why you stay when you should go. Not to be the reason you’re only living half a life.
People aren’t always going to like you. Hell, people don’t always like me. But you know what? They don’t have to, and you can’t live your life focused on other people’s opinions. Your life, your rules. Your heart, your rules. Your art, your rules. You get the point.
There have been times—too many, honestly—where I have accepted less, for a variety of reasons. I’ve always been the type who understands, who sees things from the other side, who makes (sometimes endless) accommodations. I believe it is important to be flexible, understanding, and kind. Because life is hard and full of asshats, so being the opposite? Well, it matters.
But the thing about accepting less than you deserve is that people will rarely offer you more on a whim. It’s the same in the business world: sometimes, you have to ask for a raise or lobby for a promotion. You have to be your own advocate. You have to be your own hero. You have to stand up for yourself.
I’ve never been particularly skilled at that. I’m more inclined to raze hell in service of someone else. And there have been instances in my life where I’ve put up with things for the sake of keeping the peace or simply to keep someone I care abut in my life. But by java, guys, that is utter foolishness. Poppycock. In short, bullshit.
To an extent, you tell people how to treat you (inherent douchebags of the world notwithstanding). You allow things to happen. You set, or do not set, boundaries. You accept or you don’t. This is the nature of life. By your actions, you communicate what is okay and what is not. And there’s always a line, a moment, a wall – a limit, when you just say…enough. No más.
If you, by words and actions, show someone how much they matter to you, you deserve the same in kind. Friend. Lover. Coworker. Whatever. Respect means showing up, even when you want to run away. So, if you aren’t getting as good as your giving (and dear gods, this applies to all goddamn things), stop. Just stop. Ask for more. Explain your reasoning. And then see what happens.
If someone cares about you and you ask for something, they give it. Period. It doesn’t matter if it seems, or is, impossible. Heart and determination savage impossibility for breakfast, before coffee without so much as pausing to blink. A person can use any excuse not to change, not to try. The word is full of reasons why not, really. But if you really care none of that ever matters. It’s a blip on a radar, not a dragon.
I am not a person who is good at asking. I’m not a person who wants to trouble anyone. But it’s all too easy to forget that asking for something isn’t trouble. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of gumption, of knowing what you want and what you’re worth. It’s saying, “I need this – can you give it?” There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s healthy. Everything in life is a give and take. Everything is a balancing act. And sure, sometimes, you’re on a goddamn highwire thirteen stories up. And yeah, sometimes, that wire is on fire. But you know who matters in life? The people who don’t even notice that flame and walk out there with you. Those folks who don’t ask what’s in it for me, who don’t keep some kind of tally, who don’t dredge up old debts or old arguments on a whim. Those people who make damn certain that you know you matter. It doesn’t have to be in a big way. This isn’t necessarily about throwing a parade. The most important gestures are often the smallest ones: a card in the mail, a kiss on the forehead, a silly picture on a bad day, a random hug. You don’t have to give anyone the stars. A simple conversation can change the world.
Start here. Start now. Give everything you can, until you can’t. And when you can’t, walk away. You are a universe of stardust, full of bones that sing. You are worth more, not less. It’s high time you acted like it.