Popularity is not that important

Judith Victoria Hensley - Plain Thoughts

“We live in a society obsessed by public opinion, but leadership has never been about popularity.” — Marco Rubio

I recently had an email from someone who said at the end. “Most people love you.” I guess she didn’t want to lie about it. It struck me as peculiar that she felt she needed to say it, but I appreciated her honesty. I’m sure she could name some people who don’t like me, but that’s OK.

I don’t expect everyone to love me. I have a lifetime of proof that this is never going to happen. I like people in general, but there are certainly some that I prefer more than others. Why wouldn’t it be the same about me?

We are not all made from the same cookie cutter of personalities, values, and goals in life. What I want from my life and who I want in it is vastly different from what another person might want. The things I like to do would make some people automatically look down their noses at me.

I love my relationship with God and attending church. This alone would turn some people away. I love being in the woods and taking photographs, even though this would bore some people to tears. I love a lot of things that other friends don’t care for.

I realized a long time ago that the happiest person I can ever be is just to be myself. I love many people. I appreciate friendships and relationships with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. To me, differences are often what makes life interesting.

My personality has changed over the years. I am much more reclusive than I used to be. I laughed a lot more when I was young. A friend told me recently that I was “too reserved” and that I needed to laugh more. I agree with that statement. Laughter is good for the soul. It’s hard to believe that twice in my youth I was voted Miss Personality. I don’t know where that girl went, but I think the difficulties in life change everyone.

Having spent thirty years in the classroom, I know just how important it is to children to be liked and popular. They try so hard to fit in and be accepted by “the cool kids.” It’s pretty funny how little those same relationships with those particular people matter as adults.

Horace Greely said, “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.”

With the craziness of this year’s political races in full swing already, there is a lot of talk about the popular vote. I don’t think any of the candidates really care about what the common people want or need. They just want to win the election.

Orson Welles, reflecting on the politics of his days said, “Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in the senate.”

Popularity is a false thing. The same people who adored you one day can turn on you the next. Popularity is built on being the person other people want you to be and how you fit into their views.

Even though I sincerely hope people like me, I know that many in the course of my life will not. That is their right and a matter of human nature and personal preference. I try to find the good in everyone and find something to like about them, but even my best attempts fail with liking some people. That’s okay. I don’t actively dislike anyone or try to make their life unhappy.

I’d rather have character, principals, and integrity over popularity. I want the traits in my life that will last over time and facilitate me liking myself.

“If we get our self-esteem from superficial places, from our popularity, appearance, business success, financial situation, health, any of these, we will be disappointed because no one can guarantee that we’ll have them tomorrow.” — Kathy Ireland

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.


Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

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