Oh my goodness, hi! Your message made me grin and grin. I’m SO glad you loved Victoria. She was such a fun character to write BECAUSE of her prickliness, her stubbornness, her “unlikability,” and her surprisingly big ol’ heart. Whee! So happy you enjoyed. Thanks for stopping by! ~Claire
Hi! First of all, thanks so much for reading the post and messaging me with your question.
If I understand you correctly, you’re asking how I have the bravery to discard ideas of “likability” and just live life as I want, regardless of people’s judgment. You’re also asking if I choose to remain true to me instead of working to become a better person.
The truth is, I’m not a very brave person. I’m working on it, but I’m not quite there yet. Like you, I care very much what people think about me. I also live in constant fear of being judged by someone—a friend, a colleague, a person on the street. If I don’t have the validation of other people’s approval, I often have a hard time accepting and finding peace with myself. I judge myself very harshly against the ideal feminine image I see plastered all over the Internet, subway ads, magazine covers. But, like I said, I’m working on finding my courage.
But finding that courage is an ongoing journey, taken in baby steps. I think we should strive to end each day a little more bravely than how we began it—by figuring out what it is we want, who we are, what makes us happy, and seeking it out. By working hard and loving deeply and accepting the mistakes that we inevitably make along the way—which isn’t always easy. I have found that the older you get, the more you experience and learn about yourself, the easier it is to look in the mirror and see yourself for who and what you really are. And the more you understand that, the more you really see yourself—both your strengths and your faults—the quicker you can find acceptance, separate from anyone else’s assessment of you, and the happier you will be.
Now, to address the second part of your question, are the ideas of being true to oneself and striving to become a better person—that is, compassionate and open-minded, honest and hard-working, patient and loyal—mutually exclusive? Absolutely not. It is possible to be yourself, likable or no—to recognize your faults and still love yourself regardless—while working to become a better person. I think it’s important, however, that the motivation to become a better person—to grow, to evolve—comes from within you and isn’t something you feel pressured to do in order to fit in or be liked or fit some elusive parameters of womanhood.
Does that make sense? Hopefully I answered your questions. Thanks again for stopping by! :)