What really matters is my husband loves me for who I am.
I am constantly telling myself it doesn't matter to me what others think of me as long as I like me and my husband continues to love me for who I am. But I still think it's amazing how often I come across people who try to change who I am, inside and out.
From time to time, I get the oddest messages from people in the community who suggest ways for me to change. Now, it may sound odd, but I really do get mail from people suggesting I tweak my writing or change my way of thinking.
I actually encourage these sorts of messages as I am intrigued by how people would like to see me evolve, so to speak. Of course, I won't change the core of me, but I question if there is room for improvement. So with my heart in my hands, I'm opening up about change.
Just like I hope most people do, I try to stay true to who I am, which is temperamental, vulnerable and unpredictable, to name a few. I'm not afraid to admit how I'm over-sensitive and timid. I mean, we all have imperfections.
This is one of the reasons I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love having the freedom to stay whatever the heck I want on my personal Facebook page (First Amendment, people!). But what often irks me is how many people aim to change my opinion just by reading a one-liner I typed into Facebook between running errands. Do people really care about my stance on gay marriage? Apparently, they do!
Yes, you are opening yourself up to others' opinions when you post your own opinion on Facebook, especially if it's controversial. But there's a comment box for a reason, for Pete's sake, and I welcome opinions. As my co-workers and family, I'm sure, have figured out, I love to stir a debate. It provokes passion from people and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For me, I feel like hearing others' opinions make me a well-rounded individual (Mama will be so proud).
However, it's the comments people leave about how thinking one way or another will obviously make me a very unhappy person for life or how I live a life in the dark, that boggle my mind. I consider myself a pretty content person.
And for the record, I have many opinions, especially when it comes to politics, religion and topics like gay marriage (can't we all just get along?). I may have been that kid in the college class who annoyed everyone else with my "silly" viewpoints, but does that make me a bad person?
So, I have insecurities like most people do but I can honestly say I'm confident in my faith and my beliefs are just that - mine. They don't have to be yours and that's what makes the human race unique; our ability to make our own decisions.
But I would be remiss if I failed to mentioned I was once so opinionated and set in my ways, I refused to listen to others' views of the world. I would take another person's opinions and use them to find a way to judge that individual and I'm ashamed to say that immature, less well-rounded Stacey would find some way to judge that person without getting to know them. What would the world be if we all had the same opinion?
In my opinion, it would be pretty plain.
I'm asking you to take me just the way that I am and not to judge me until you know me. And before you are quick to judge someone else, take a minute to digest their opinion.
You may just learn something about yourself.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.