I love watching Project Runway (see Georgina Chapman Talks about Creative Breakdowns, 5 Self-Help Lessons I Learned from Reality TV) not just for the awesome clothes but also for the lessons about human behavior and human relationships. Recently, I caught up with season 14, and at first I thought the life lesson was along the lines of hell is other people, but then I realized something a little more inspirational. People who hate you will hate you, and people who like you will like you. That’s inspirational? Let me explain.
This whole life lesson started with the contestant named Merline. Ok disclaimer: I only watched the beginning of the episodes where they announce the challenge, sometimes I watched the Tim Gunn critiques, and of course I watched the fashion show at the end and the eliminations. I haven’t watched the drama parts in the middle, but I’ll get to that later when I have more time to waste.
Based on what I’ve seen, Merline is a very energetic person who likes to laugh and talk. The other designers find her annoying, and this is the reason why they picked her last for the team challenge. This is astounding because she’s a strong designer and has won several challenges.
I didn’t really get annoyed with Merline, but then again, I didn’t watch the whole episode. Even if she was annoying though, I don’t understand the vitriol against her. It’s not as if she’s a bad person. It’s not as if she spreads lies and hurts people. Yet people would go so far as to exclude her, which means forgoing the benefits of having a talented designer in the team.
Her situation reminded me of certain people I’ve met. You know the type. They think very highly of themselves, and there have been times when you’ve been taken aback by some of the arrogant things that they say. So I get it that people find them annoying, but if they don’t spread lies or hurt other people, I’m primarily ok with them. Sure I can get annoyed, but for the most part, I’ll accept them for who they are. Whenever they talk about how great they are, with all sincerity and obliviousness, I’ll just find them hilarious.
Merline also reminded me of something that my mom said. My mom is over 60 years old, and she said that even in her circle of friends people get annoyed at each other for silly things. One of her friends doesn’t invite another friend because she doesn’t like the way that other person talks. I’m like, wow, so this never ends.
So it seems like they aren’t bad people, and yet, because they don’t act “right” or talk “right”, people hate them. All of these things made me feel scared because I thought, if they hate these people without telling them, what if there are people who hate me without telling me? I have to learn how to crystal ball people’s thoughts, tip-toe around their feelings, and be extra polite just in case my words are misconstrued. I’m all for being nice, but being paranoid and second-guessing yourself will drive anyone mad.
So I was in this negative frame of mind, and I was like, even if you had no intention to hurt, people will get hurt, and the fucked up part is that they won’t tell you, and you’ll just find yourself ostracized, punished for your lack of ability to read minds. Fuck, hell is other people.
Then I remembered something I realized about love. You can’t control what other people will feel about you. You can’t honor student your way into people’s hearts. People who like you will like you. They’ll find your faults hilarious. They’ll forgive you for your mistakes. They’ll call you out and are willing to work things out. They won’t assume the worst in you, they’ll ask questions, and they’ll try to understand you.
You’ll be enough for them.
So all you have to do is be as sincere as possible, as sensitive as possible, as honest as possible, as loving as possible, as generous as possible. All you have to do is show them who you really are and trust that you’ll be understood.
And the people who hate you? They’ll always hate you, so don’t even try.
- Inspiring quote: what you are shouts so loudly; I cannot hear what you say
- A Ted Talk Says: Talk to Strangers
- Books that had a lasting impact on my life (Book 2: How to Win Friends)
- Learning Honesty: Feelings about Other People
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