Dame Helen Mirren has been recorded saying some solid stuff over the decades. One of my favourite quotes is:
“At 70 years old if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words “fuck off” much more frequenly.” – Dame Helen Mirren
Yup. Felt that.
Stumbled across the quote in my late 30’s and it pops to mind a lot as I am rolling contentedly down the slope of the final half of my life on this planet. There’s so much power in each of us, and it is actually a sign of respect for you and others to occasionally, and with conviction and respect say and feel that you simply do not like certain people.
It is three days until Christmas as I write this blog. I’ve had a magical month of martinis (in moderation) and mild mayhem with my magnificent friends and some colleagues I had a chance to chat with and get to know a bit better.
I have also been forced to come face to face with a few people I simply cannot stand. One or two of them attempted to speak to me and their efforts were met with a stony gaze, curled upper lip and a clear and concise: “Yeah, so just don’t try to speak to me. I don’t like you.” or similar words to that effect. I do not wish them ill, I do not hate them, I do not care enough to hate them, I simply lost respect or interest in them because of various basic behaviours that clearly put them in the camp of cowardly, greedy, boring or bullshit. None of which I will tolerate in my autumn years. I know too many amazing, complicated, and deeply interesting people to pretend to be able to tolerate those who have fallen out of favour with me.
As my very calm and diplomatic fiancé often says: “Nobody will ever die wondering what you think about them or anything else at least!”
I think that’s a pretty great way to live. Clearly and intentionally. We don’t need to be bitchy or rude to people on our shit list, and I genuinely still find myself actively celebrating wins and learnings that people I can’t tolerate enjoy. I may even reach out with a message when something cool happens to them, as an olive branch or, in some cases, just to freak them out a bit because I know they’re s bit scared of me. Don’t judge. We all have a cheeky side, mine may just be a bit more overt than most. You don’t have to do things the same way but I am taking the pains to write this article today to encourage you to consider how much easier it is for everyone if you give yourself permission to not like everyone.
The people we actively choose to surround ourselves with define us. I hypothesize that we are equally shaped and defined by the people we distance ourselves from. Most people are fascinating and I find magic in nearly everyone I have met. Some people’s paths are just paved with too much obsequiousness, social climbing, selfishness or general stupidity for me to want to step in time with them even for a moment.
If you get too wrapped up in people you don’t like, or wish anyone harm or hurt because they’ve let you down or damaged you in some way, you’re the one that will suffer. So I’d like to openly and actively suggest we all avoid stewing or festering, and opt instead to smile (or grimace) and say “sorry you don’t get to be anywhere near my shiny, shiny magic and we both know why that is” you’ve done them and yourself a huge favour. You’ve let go of bitterness and you can drink the sweet nectar of knowing that you have clear boundaries and will not tolerate BS. Good people respond to this and slimy sycophants stop swarming around when you employ this strategy. Let go and wish no person harm, as when we hold a grudge too tight it is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will suffer. Let it go and let them know. It feels really good and takes most people by surprise.
That’s it. Short and sharp.
And oh my goodness I am looking forward to seeing more of the people I Love and respect in the year ahead. Had to call time on socializing for a bit as I am peopled out after our 107 days in lockdown, followed by full on socialising, but can’t wait to get back out and about seeing all you shiny, shiny, wonderful humans.
Thanks for reading!