When it bothers you

Imagine this scenario: A close friend or someone in the family does something that bothers you. It could be a recurring habit they have. It could be the attitude they foster or perhaps, the things they say. I don’t mean if they simply have a different viewpoint than yours but rather if they are being disrespectful, rude or hurtful in their words and actions.

What do you do?

Most people, I would think, do not prefer confrontations. I know I don’t. Most people would either overlook it or change the topic of conversation to something that isn’t so bothersome. And that makes sense. The flight response is often easier than the fight response. But there are some that choose the latter. There are people that call others out on their wrong actions on the spot. They don’t mind creating a scene because they wish to do something about what happened right then and there. It happens more so in movies than it does in real life, but it does happen.

Now I don’t really advocate for one or the other. I believe our childhood experiences, the company we keep and our environments influence us to be one or the other. We often relinquish control and do what feels right because past events have moulded us that way. But I’d like to talk about what comes after.

Are you someone who forgets and forgives? Are you someone who holds grudges and brings those moments up every now and then? Maybe you’d like to think you’re the first option but you have some of the second in you. That’s alright. It’s not a black and white world. There’s some grey in there too. So what comes after?

I’d say the first step is considering distance. I’ve recently distanced myself from people who are not good for me. It’s not all that easy and you may find yourself alone. But the important thing is establishing whether their presence in your life does you more harm than good? Distance can be tricky and has many levels. You need to find the one that works in your case. Some people you can’t avoid forever. You have to see them at some point and unless you wish to be one of those “watch me ignore you” people, you will need to find a better way to co-exist. If you choose to stay close and talk about issues and work on them, then I wish you luck and strong and positive relationships.

If you do decide to add some distance, the second step would be establishing boundaries. What topics are off the table if you do have to communicate? How often do you wish to see them? How long until you try and patch things up? These do not have to be set in stone but they will help steer you as you try to limit the negative presence in your life. Boundaries work because they give you space to think and re-evaluate. They do not have to be the equivalent of building a wall between two people. If there is mutual understanding, they could be lines in the sand that could be swept away as your relationship heals.

The last step in my opinion, is giving people a second chance. I have always put my faith in people, but that may not be the same for you. I find this step to be important because it’s about reconnecting. This step is difficult. It requires a leap of faith with the possibility of a painful landing. You may choose not to and you would be in your rights to do so. Ponder on this when you distance yourself.

I’ve gone out on a limb here and tried something new. I’m not one for doling out specific advice but this is a process that has worked for me in the past. The goal is to surround yourself with the right people. This past year has shown us that extended periods of hardships can come out of nowhere. When so much is out of our control, we must turn to what is.

Taking care of yourself is not a process that will leave everyone happy. You cannot get along with everyone. If something bothers you, you need distance or some positive change. Don’t let things stay the way they are and pretend it doesn’t bother you. That’s just adding more to a full plate.

I wish you all strength, patience and whatever you need to navigate difficult relationships!

Happy holidays! Make sure you wear masks in public places, take precautions and let’s get through this responsibly!

What we become

There’s always a rough patch around the corner waiting for you. As much as I want to be a person with a positive and sunny disposition, I cannot argue against this. Small or big, these patches await us all and they come and go as they please.

It could be a bitter argument, a time when money is tight or even losing a loved one. Each one chips away at us in its own way even if we don’t see it. You might find that things are just not the same after. I’ve had conversations which made me rethink entire relationships with someone. This summer I had went through the gruelling experience of fixing a big mistake I made.

When I think back to the days when I was working to correct things, I remember the kind of person I became. I created feelings of self-hate and loathed myself for a long time. Every day felt like I was paying for making a mistake and that I deserved it. I stopped doing things that made me happy. I stopped reading. I stopped listening to music. I was the only one punishing myself for making a mistake even after others forgave me. It seems almost silly now, but I was not then who I am now.

It took me a long time to start considering thoughts of acceptance and self-forgiveness and that didn’t come easy. Every day became replacing negative ideas with different ones. Every day became starting to forgive myself a tiny bit. And eventually, I put that horrid experience behind me and looked forward to better things.

To this day I think about the person I became after that rough patch. Someone filled with self-loathing. It wasn’t the person I’ve wanted to be. Perhaps the complete opposite. I’ve always wanted to help others and I’ve learned that I can’t do that unless I help myself first. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. That is who I chose to become. Someone who understands that simple fact. And I chose to start taking care of myself so that I could give back.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” 

– Carl Jung

I’ll end with this thought: The day I realized that my hardships turned me into someone I didn’t recognize, I started looking for a way to correct myself. What happens to me cannot deter me from being the person I intend to become. It’s not strong enough to achieve that.

I hope you all stay safe, wear masks, check up on friends and family and let’s get through this responsibly!

Being yourself is hard

A few days ago, I was having a rough evening and I asked a friend, “Do you ever feel like being yourself is hard?” That question progressed into a long conversation and gave me a lot to think about. Today, I feel ready to write some of those thoughts down.

We are all wired a certain way. Some of it we control and some of it comes from the experiences and events we’ve had to live through. And the way we are defines our relationships with people. You could be the kind of person who likes to talk about what you’re feeling. Or you might be someone who doesn’t share much or shares in their own time. You could be someone who takes things seriously or someone who doesn’t.

Just like these, I have my own quirks. And they make some days and experiences hard to live through. And on those days, I ask myself, “should I not be this way?” or “Am I being someone wrong by being myself?”. The choices I make, the morals I try to live by and my faith in people are the three things I struggle with the most. So the question is whether being the way you are is supposed to give you hard days.

And the answer is absolutely. I have my reasons for being the way I am and maybe that’s something that doesn’t align with the way someone else is. No matter how much I’d like it to. I make certain choices and find out that I chose wrong. I try to live by certain morals and fail. I put my faith in people and they don’t come through sometimes. None of that equates to me being wired wrong.

I try (and often fail) to live by certain morals because I believe that’s the right thing to do, even it makes my life harder. And I put my faith in people because I’ve always had people who put their faith in me. I am the way I am because it works. It just doesn’t work everyday.

It’s not supposed to be a formula or a cheat sheet that lets you skip all the hard days in your life. You can’t switch to being someone else that may seem like they have their life figured. More importantly, you don’t need to. You are exactly what you were molded to be. And if you allow a spiritual opinion, you are exactly what you were meant to be.

You being you isn’t supposed to be easy because what you’re doing is being someone that no one has ever been or ever will be. And I pray this thought helps you brave some of those hard days that come from being yourself.

P.S. Hope you all are staying safe. Please use masks in public areas like stores and buses & let’s get through this responsibly!