I was a junior in high school when I heard the song “Wear Sunscreen” for the first time, by Baz Lurhmann. You know that song that got stuck in your head for days, circa 1999?
The one that talks about all the things you should do to live a happy life, with the relaxing, catchy music.
When this song came out, I remember being 17 years old, driving around town, contemplating life, listening to all his advice and singing at the top of my lungs.
At the time, I thought the song was pretty catchy and pretty inspiring, but I had no idea how one of the lyrics would impact me 15 years later.
Video courtesy of YouTube
One of the life lessons Baz points out is this:
“Remember compliments you’ve received…forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.”
I can totally relate to this lyric. Both Baz and I seem to struggle with this – remembering the positive things people love about you when people try to intentionally wound you.
In 1999, Baz didn’t have an answer to this all-too-common problem we sometimes face.
But in the last 2 months, I gotta say, I think I found it.
I actually found a way to remember the compliments I’ve received, and forget the insults.
Lean on your family and close friends. Let them inspire you. Let their love block out the hate that comes your way.
I experienced the healing power of this love first hand over the past 2 months.
Unfortunately, some people who were close to me did something that shattered me. I felt belittled, small and unworthy.
I cried for days. I questioned myself. I questioned my entire identity.
Was I the kind of person they claimed I was?
I didn’t think so, but if they said that, then surely I must be? I felt lost. I couldn’t understand how people could say these things to me when I had never heard these words from anyone before in 32 years of life.
All of my self-confidence seemed to come crashing down suddenly.
I even thought about taking this blog down, several times. How could I possibly continue running a blog about positivity and inspiration called “FindPerspective.org” when a few people criticized my character?
I couldn’t sleep. I lost my appetite. And I’ll be straight up with you – I had a full on panic attack.
I forgot every compliment I had ever received and focused solely on the negativity coming my way.
And then something magical happened.
I let love in.
My husband showered me with love. My parents, my brother and my sister-in-law reminded me of all the things they loved about me. My close girlfriends overwhelmed me with unwavering support.
They uplifted me through heartfelt conversations, calls, emails and texts. They told me that what these people said was absolute nonsense that had no basis in reality. They reminded me to “consider the source.” When I was at a low point, they refused to let me believe things that were specifically designed to hurt me.
They told me what Baz Lurhmann said – “remember the compliments you’ve received. Forget the insults.”
They reminded me that the answer to negative people’s hate is not hate. It’s positivity and strength. It’s being vulnerable with the people who truly love you when your confidence is shaken.
It’s remembering this:
When people lie and say things to intentionally hurt you, it’s about them, not you. Putting you down and making up lies makes them feel bigger when they feel small inside.
Whether or not you like Taylor Swift’s pop music, you gotta give her some credit for this line:
“Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine.”
They sure do – and remember, it’s NEVER about you.
I was unsure of sharing this story – something so personal – on this blog.
But then I remembered that sharing and being vulnerable is what makes us human. It’s what connects all of us. It’s what helps us move on when people wound us.
Through this experience, I’ve come out stronger. I’ve realized how important my family and friends are. I’ve realized that it’s okay to be not okay. You don’t always have to “have it all together”.
It’s okay to lean on the people you love when someone rattles you.
Other people can help you find perspective when you’ve lost your way.
And once you’ve found your footing on solid ground, it’s essential that you find your own voice and stand up for yourself when people try to bully you. It’s liberating and empowering and will carry you through the rest of your life.
To my family and friends, I want to thank you.
Because of you, I am able to remember the compliments, and forget the insults. I am able to work through the days where I doubt myself with your reassuring love. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
What about you? Can you let love in? Give it a try. It just might heal that wound.