“If you are holding out for universal popularity, I am afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.” – Albus Dumbledore.
This is one of my favourite quotes of all time, one I use often in conversation and in life. It is also one of the lesser known pieces of J.K. Rowling’s brilliant wisdom in the Harry Potter books, possibly because it never made it into the movies. But take it to heart. If you are holding out for universal popularity, you will be in this cabin for a very long time. In other words, don’t hesitate. Don’t hide. Don’t lock yourself away because you think the world won’t approve of you. Open the door, step outside and get on with life.
No one is ever liked by everyone, just as no one is ever hated by everyone. So what do you have to lose? Life isn’t about living so that every single person, whether they understand or care about you or not, will be okay with you existing. It isn’t about bending yourself to the world’s rules. Be who you are, because “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” I know I’ve made a lot of blog posts about this, but it has to be said.
No matter what it is you want to do or be, someone is going to disapprove. There will be someone who is disgusted, someone who thinks you’re crazy, someone who shuns you. But the love and acceptance that matters most is your own. If you love yourself than you can find a way to be happy. Why bother straining to be someone you aren’t just so others will like you, if it means you won’t even like yourself? We weren’t put on this planet to shine and glow in a spotlight as others admire us. If anything, we were ‘put here’ to be dirty and broken and imperfect. We were made to raise hell and change the world. Anyone who has ever accomplished anything has made a few enemies along the way. It’s the nature of the game.
No matter what you do, you will still be disliked by someone. You will still not be popular universally. You will still fail. You will still make mistakes. You will still die. We only have one life – as far as anyone knows – and we need to spend it doing things that we love and that can help us to love us.
Go chase your dreams. Go hunt down your ambitions. Accept your flaws, I dare you. Most importantly, step outside. Leave the cabin behind. Let the sunlight fall across your face. Reveal yourself to the world.