The Perfect Peach: Just Be Yourself
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.
Dita Von Teese (Dancer/Model)
This post was originally intended for a younger audience but as I wrote it, I realized that it’s still pretty relevant for adults. I’m a child of the 80s and grew up watching all the great sitcoms that came with that era including the Golden Girls. If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching it, you really should. The show was really ahead of its time in so many ways and it managed to deliver some really thoughtful messages in the funniest ways.
Rose Nylund (played by the adorable Betty White) was probably my favorite character. Rose was the epitome of innocence and cuteness—think of the nicest person you know and multiply their niceness by 10x. In one episode, Rose and her roommates had a pretty crotchety neighbor named Freida Claxton that insisted on tearing down the neighborhood’s 200 year old tree despite objections from the rest of the neighborhood. Freida hated everything and everyone, and as a result, Rose attempted to rise to the challenge and become Freida’s friend by doubling down on her sweetness. She brought Freida pastries every day but still no change and needless to say, Rose’s efforts failed miserably. Freida eventually passed away but not without proclaiming her hatred for Rose and everyone around her one last time.
Woven within all the jokes of this episode is a really good lesson on being yourself. No matter how wonderful you are, there may be people that just don’t like you or give you the respect you deserve. It doesn’t reflect at all on you as a person but rather, whatever is going on within the other person. I think the giving of the pastries can be seen as a metaphor for all of us, where at some point, I’m sure all of us have given more of ourselves than we should with the hopes of changing someone. It doesn’t work and I can say with certainty that it isn’t necessary.
I recently watched a motivational video on YouTube featuring Will Smith where he spoke about the dangers of trying to find your self-esteem in other people. Here’s the verbatim snippet:
It is dangerous to let other people determine how you feel about you. It’s like looking into a broken mirror and then changing your face to try to look good in this defiled and busted broken mirror. Other peoples’ opinions is a really shitty way to determine how we feel about ourselves.
There’s so much wisdom in those words and and my takeaway from it is that we should all remember to save our wonderfulness for the person(s) that will genuinely see it naturally. And if they don’t, be confident enough to gather your things and moonwalk away.
Aside: If you would like to watch the episode, you can do YouTube search for “Freida Claxton on the Golden Girls” and various clips will show up.