I recently got my hair cut. Not just a trim but a full make-over. I went from long blonde hair with was usually up in a ponytail to a short very curly bob which was dyed a dark reddish brown. No way you could miss the fact that I got my hair “done.” No one could claim ingnorance on this issue. “Oh, I didn’t notice’? I don’t think so! So I went about my life for the next few days expecting people to comment on my new look. I wasn’t disappointed, just about everyone I saw made some comment on my hair. These comments ranged from one friend who literally squealed “I love your hair. It is so cute!”, to people who made really ambiguous comments like, “oh, you cut your hair.” No comment on whether they liked it, whether it looked nice, just stating the fact that I cut it. Most people made generally positive comments without overwhelming enthusiasm. At least, that’s what it sounded like to me.
You see, when I was in the sylist’s chair, I went through a wide range of emotions. I was ready for a change so I let her do just about whatever she wanted to. When she described the changes she wanted to make I was a little worried. When she cut the first six inches off, I was really scared. But, as the appointment progressed, I started to get excited, and by the time we were done, I loved my hair! I called my family on the way home to warn them that it was a pretty big change but that I was really excited. However, when I got home they were all....um...stunned is a good word to describe the looks on their faces when I first walked into the room. They quickly recovered and told me they really liked it. I think my husband was less than convinced, the look in his eyes didn’t match the words coming out of his mouth. That was when the first shred of doubt crept into my mind.
For the next few days I began to doubt myself more and more. Everytime someone gave me a compliment that was, to my mind, a little less than enthusiastic, I would think to myself, “Maybe this haircut wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe this color looks horrible on me and they are all just being nice. Maybe I look like a geek!” Because of this growing doubt, my own responses became less sure. My friends would ask, “Do you like it?” I would now say, “Um, yeah, I like it.”
The thing is, when I look in the mirror, I like what I see! I’m enjoying this new look. But I’m letting what everyone else thinks to influence my enjoyment of my new style. I’m notorious for this. I once bought a killer pair of boots that I fell in love with even before I found out they were on clearance for a ridiculously low price. I brought them home and tried them on for my husband.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“Well, if you like them. . . “ he answered.
The boots went back to the store the next day.
Why do we do this to ourselves? I know I’m not the only one. My sister recently returned some new clothes she bought because her husband admitted that he didn’t really care for them. I have talked to a girlfriend who repainted a room because someone didn’t like the color. But if that color made her happy, why should it matter what someone else thinks? If my sister liked the clothes she bought, she should have kept them and worn them because of the way they made her feel. If I smile every time I look in the mirror at my new hair, then it shouldn’t matter how enthusiatically people respond. But it does. Well, it did. Through this experience with my hair I have come to some conclusions about life.
First, as long as I am acting in a legal manner and am not harming anyone around me, most especially my family, I should live life in a way that brings me joy. New haircut, new boots? If it makes me happy then I should go for it. When I am happier, it allows the people around me, most especially my family, to feel happy too. No one likes a grumpy person, especially if they have to live with them!
Second, I am a much happier me when I am living true to myself. If I try to live my life to please everyone else, or to fit into some mold of what I’m supposed to be/look like/ feel like, I turn into a very grumpy person. Refer to above for how people feel about grumpy people!
Of course, as in everything, there are exceptions to this. If I was going on a job interview, it would be wise of me to dress, look and act in a way that would be pleasing to the employer. “Why did I wear cut-off shorts and a bikini top to this interview? Because it makes me smile!” Probably not the time to be following your bliss. But in normal daily life? As long as I’m legal and not harming anyone. . . . (although if I went to the store with my kids in cut-offs and a bikini top, it would probably be harmful to their psyche - especially if we ran into one of their friends!)
This all leads me back to my hair. I really like my new look. There are still people around me who aren’t thrilled, though to their credit they haven’t complained too loudly. The important thing is, this haircut makes me smile, and smiling is a good thing.