My mom is a wise woman, and she’s helped me through many a struggle. We oftentimes get on each other’s nerves, but isn’t that just a sign of love? I bring her up, because she gave me a good piece of advice this morning…
I’m prone to base my identity off my reputation. For instance, if people don’t like me, even just one person, then I must be doing something wrong. For that reason, I avoid conflict and say “I’m sorry” even when the fault isn’t mine. By saying “I’m sorry,” I’m hoping to gain back the person in question’s favor. They’re mad at me about something, right? I don’t know what I did, but I must have done something wrong, right? Because they’re mad at me. Like my mom, I’m that person who assumes every honk she hears on the road is at her. So I pretty frequently correct myself when no correction is needed.
Gosh, just writing this depresses me.
But on the flip side, it’s also helping me understand myself. It’s helping me understand that I need to forgive myself. In the grand scheme of things, I need to forgive myself, as we all should. People will disagree with me or with something I do, but I need not chastise myself. I need only love myself and give time to those I feel time is owed–to my truest friends and family in this world.
I also need to own my feelings. You see, there’s a little man who lives inside my brain–he’s quite small, but he has a mighty power. He has the ability to sic his pet beast, Guilt, on all thoughts positive or negative in my mind. Mostly the negative ones.
I didn’t draw that guy. Found him on Google. But my Guilty Beast kinda looks like that…
Let me give you an example of how Guilty Beast dictates my conversations. If one of my friends snuck into my house one night and killed my entire family in cold blood with a machete, here’s how I would approach them:
“Hey, I’m angry, because I feel like you killed family. And that makes me sad. BUT I know you were just doing what you thought was right, so it’s probably hard for you to hear that… REALLY hard actually. I just wish you would have maybe asked me first, because killing my family would obviously hurt me, but I get why you didn’t, because how do you ask, “Would it be alright if I killed your family?” You probably knew I’d say no. You probably knew I’d yell at you or call you names. I get that you probably think I’m a bitch, because I can definitely be one. And that’s not fair to you. Of course it isn’t. Communication just isn’t our strong suit, and that made it hard on you. I don’t want you to think I’m putting all the blame on you, because I’m not. If anything, it’s my fault for not seeing that you wanted to kill my family and talking to you about it. I mean, I even caught you sharpening your machete last Tuesday! Gosh, what kind of a friend am I? Look, before you say anything, let me just say I’m really sorry. Friends?”
Probably really confused that friend, but hey, they get off scrotch-free! You think I’m kidding. Anger makes me feel guilty. Guilt makes me feel angry. So I just avoid the anger. Here’s the catch… Whether or not I’m voicing my anger, the anger doesn’t go away. And I’m just failing myself by not allowing my truth to come out. By not allowing myself to own my emotions.
So, friends, FEEL your feelings. That’s what they are there for. To feel. Don’t over-analyze. And don’t make any rash actions. Just feel your feelings. Be honest with yourself and those closest to you. If they care, they’ll listen. They’ll help you work through them, and they’ll apologize if they’ve hurt you. Because you are about yourself, you should listen to yourself, as if you were listening to a close friend. Treat yourself like a child, in need of comfort and support. It’s not your fault for being human. It’s whoever created you, that’s who! If anyone is to blame, it’s the Masters of the Universe!
First and foremost, be at peace with yourself. Forgive yourself. Love yourself.
Treat yourself as others would want to be treated.