Monday, October 28, 2013

Why I don't care what people think of me anymore, and why you shouldn't either.

Today is an important day in Greek history. It is 'Oxi Day'. This day is mostly remembered for general Ioannis Metaxas' strong reply of 'Oxi' (no) to Mussolini's request to allow Italian troops to come into Greece at the beginning of WWII. Metaxas stood his ground and his resistance is today celebrated. It was in my reflection of today's historical significance that I realised how important it is to stand your ground and stand up for what you truly believe in. It's important to say 'oxi' (no) when you need to. It is important to care. I am proud of my Greek heritage, and I'm proud to stand my ground when it comes to things I truly care about. When we look through the history books and see the people who made a real difference in the world, they were not the ones who stayed silent in the face of criticism or disapproval. They are the ones who fought for their civil liberties. I think of people like Malala Yousafzai who bravely defended women's right to an education,  Nelson Mandela who fought against institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, the Australian suffragettes who campaigned for the right to vote in elections, and most recently, those who are campaigning for Marriage Equality, the rights of Asylum Seekers, and the rights of Young PeopleIt's not about being 'right', it's not about inflated self-importance, it's about putting your ego and self-interest aside and seeing how denying the rights of others impacts not only on them, but on humanity as a whole.

Here's the thing, a lot of people don't agree with my opinions, they judge me for judging other people who deny human rights, they don't like it when I call out bullshit when I see it, they don't like it when I speak my mind. For a little while this actually bothered me, and I started to question whether there was something wrong with me and whether my opinions were valid. So called 'friends' deleted me. I even stopped posting on my own Facebook. I allowed others to gain control over me. But guess what? I will no longer allow these people to gain control over me or dictate the way I live my life. I will no longer silence myself for the gratification of these people. Their approval is no longer needed. So, if you're one of these people who doesn't like my opinions, then please exercise your right to delete me, because you will no longer silence my voice when it comes to human rights. You will no longer control me. My purpose in life is to empower others to do the same. I wouldn't be true to myself and my beliefs if I didn't practice what I preach. It's time for me to stop caring what other people think of me, and start standing up for what I truly believe in: equality, human rights and social justice. Those are the things I live to defend.


Anne-Marie Carey said...

Love this Kerry. I believe I became a better person when I stopped caring what other people thought of me, and when I decided I was confident enough that my opinions WERE thought in fact quite well thought out and defensible (even if I'm not very good at arguing my points clearly!). It's easy to get downtrodden when you doubt yourself, as others will readily do the same. It used to be that if someone disagreed with me over any moral/ethical, social or political issue I would spend a lot of time trying to work out if I'd missed something. I'd spend many many hours reading and learning and trying to re-formulate my viewpoint taking into account any other positions as I learned about them through voicing an opinion. It was enormously helpful for the development of my views, but I think there comes a time though when you've read and heard a lot of opinions - more than the average Joe - and you owe it to yourself to give those carefully formed opinions some credit. We should keep listening, of course, always! But also have confidence in our judgments, even if that confidence is self-serving in its own way. I'd say I'm currently about 80% honest with my opinions in every day life, and I feel good about it, and am totally open to being challenged :) I'm inclined to think that anyone who asks you to keep quiet and not engage might be unprepared to answer the hard questions themselves.

Kyriake said...

Thanks for your comment Anne-Marie. I 100% agree with you, and I think that's the problem - I used to doubt myself too much, and that gave room for others to doubt me also. Also, you have a valid point about the fact that we've read and heard more opinions than the average joe. I never thought about that, but I think you're right! Yeah, I don't have a problem with other people voicing opinions, as long as those opinions don't get in the way of people's rights (as in the case with same sex marriage, women's rights, asylum seeker rights etc). Thank God for people like you in the world :) xx