I recently experienced some not-so-pleasant interaction, whilst I don’t feel it would be appropriate or purposeful to go into detail about this as it would really just be stooping to that level – the whole ordeal did inspire me to write something for you all. It's part advice, part thoughts and part (huge part) appreciation for my friends near and far. Take what you need from it, and never be afraid to keep being you, no matter how many times people put you down…
It takes much less effort to be horrible than it does to be kind. It requires much less of an intellect to be dismissive and critical than it does to be a ray of light in peoples’ lives. If you strive to be kind – you should be so proud of that, you’re actually putting the effort in to make the lives of those around you more tolerable, and that’s a great thing. But the harsh reality is that most people find it easier to be nasty, sometimes without even realising it.
People bond over mutual hatred, I’m not innocent to this either – I love watching terrible reality shows with my judge-y pants on over a few bottles of rose’ with my girlfriends as much as the next person. One thing I’ve noticed though, is that I only want to do this when I feel crap about myself. It makes me feel better in a sense –
“well my life may be a mess, but at least I don’t have 72 cats inside peeing all over the walls like this loser on animal hoarders”
Don’t judge me! I know you do it too, don’t even try to lie to me!
So anyway, we’ve established that none of us are perfect, and we all do things we aren’t proud of. These things seem harmless when it’s over people you don’t know and you’re just having some light-hearted fun. But when does it get to a point where it’s gone too far? Too often I see this stuff carry over into real life. People being incredibly nasty for the sake of it. It got me thinking, if I only want to watch trashy TV when I feel crap for my own guilty pleasure/validation/whatever I’m looking for, how terrible must nasty people feel about themselves every day? The empath in me immediately felt sorry for them, but the stubborn warrior-princess in me said – you don’t have to put up with this shit!
I was chatting with a gorgeous friend the other day and we were talking about how ultimately, the way you allow others to treat you really boils down to how much respect you have for yourself, and in turn, how much respect you believe you deserve form others. I think to really be kind – you need to also embrace kindness from others.
And vice versa - you have no obligation to keep those in your life who are bringing you down. Being an empath, I feel guilty when I’m distancing myself from people for my own good. Then I realised, that exact notion is confirming to myself that their selfish desire to keep using and abusing me is more important than my happiness and wellbeing. Imagine the havoc that’s wreaking on my little brain and its beliefs of self-worth?!
I think we can all relate to this (if we aren’t a raging sociopath) in some respect. How many times have you felt obligated to just deal with someone mistreating you simply because you’ve known them for a long time? Just because they’re family? Just because they helped you through a tough time in the past? Just because you’re “friends”?
I find in most cases people are receptive to constructive criticism and if they truly do care for you – they may not even know they are hurting you until you speak out. In a perfect world they’d be apologetic, you’d patch it up and it would be happy days from there on out.
Unfortunately though, this isn’t always the case. I’m not telling you to cut people off as soon as they irritate you – I’m talking about the ones who have consistently shown you their true colours and you’ve time and time again chosen to ignore.
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. And you should never feel bad for evolving past their comfort zone. Mediocrity and familiarity are comfortable for some – and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t mean you have to dilute yourself for the comfort of others.
Rather than dramatically cutting these people off – redefine the relationship. You don’t even have to let said person know. In your mind, you know they don’t respect you maybe as much as you did them. It can be hard to process at first, especially if you feel this person “should” care for you and should have your best interests at heart. But we are only in control of ourselves. We can’t choose what anyone else thinks or feels – but we CAN choose our actions and reactions.
Part of being unapologetically yourself is knowing what you deserve and refusing to accept any less. You will NEVER be happy being a people-pleaser. You have to live your life in your body and make your OWN choices, and you will never be satisfied if those choices were not fully and sincerely your own.
Self-hatred is like a contagious cancer, it eats away at the hater and leaves a black gloomy cloud wherever they go, infecting unsuspecting victims, making everyone in its path feel terrible. If you’re hating on yourself – how can you possibly expect others to love and accept you for who you are? Find things that light you up when you’re feeling down that don’t involve being nasty, and make that extra effort to be KIND.
Check yourself, but don’t forget to check your tribe too. Our qualities mirror those of the five people we choose to surround ourselves with the most – choose wisely.