Sara and I recently watched Pete Holmes's Netflix comedy special I'm Not For Everyone. I liked it. But what stuck with me most is just the title.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life hand-wringing over whether I've offended someone or done something to make them not like me. I worry that I've pushed someone too hard, asserted a position they don’t agree with, asked them questions that are too personal, made a joke that isn’t to their taste, etc.. I often contort myself every which way to prevent others from feeling uncomfortable or possibly having some negative opinion of me.
It’s exhausting. But worse, it keeps me from showing up as the most authentic, empowered version of myself and offering my greatest gifts to the world. By trying to be for everyone, I become for no one.
Now when I find myself stuck in this kind of pattern, I ask myself: Am I being kind, curious, and patient with this person? If not, then there is some work for me to do here to get back in integrity with myself. But if I am, and they still don’t like or feel comfortable with what I am offering, then I just remind myself:
I am not for everyone. I’m not supposed to be for everyone. No one is for everyone.
Even if I embodied the absolute clearest, healthiest, fullest expression of who I am, I would still not be for everyone. In fact, the more I show up as the most authentic me, the more I will draw some people (“my” people) toward me, and the more I will inevitably turn others away.
Think of yourself as food for others. Do you want to be plain white rice: bland and unoffensive to all? Or would you rather be something with such a unique, robust flavor that some are ravenous and endlessly grateful for what you bring and others just pick something else off the menu?