Now that I’m back home, I’ve had a lot of down time, relative to what my school year is like. Ever since then, it’s like my mind is on overdrive, analyzing all of the mistakes I made throughout the semester. What? Me? Overthink? Get down on myself for every little thing I did wrong? That doesn’t sound like me… HAH. Of course it sounds like me.. No wonder I struggle with my mental health.
Anywhoooo, in this period of overthinking, a revelation occurred to me: I become mean when I’m unhappy with myself.
This is a struggle I have always had, but it’s only now that I have intimate friendships and a relationship that I witnessed its effect on other people. When life is out of my control and I don’t get my way, I become mean. I use all my energy on surviving for myself, that I let my relationships suffer and fall to the way side.
Is it an act of self-care?
At first glance, I can almost justify that. I’m taking care of myself, right? That’s a good thing. I’m putting the energy where it needs to go. What could be so bad about that? And to a certain extent, that is an acceptable justification. In the midst of unsatisfactory circumstances, sometimes it’s necessary to prioritize yourself and only yourself. Usually, the people around you will understand and allow you the time to process and heal. I’ve been lucky enough to have all my loved ones back in San Diego do the exact same thing for myself.
Now that I’m back home though, I feel ashamed for how I treated my friends and my boyfriend. I know I probably dramatized it in my head, making my actions worse than they really were, but I know I had my moments with people where I was just downright careless in my remarks. I like being a nice person; it’s something I pride myself on (which sounds a little hypocritical?). Nonetheless, I enjoy expression compassion and empathy. I enjoy celebrating others and investing in friendships. I am passionate about hearing other people’s stories and overcoming. But when I’m stressed out or emotionally struggling, it’s like the entire nice side of me shuts off. I treat people like they are disturbing my presence. It doesn’t happen often, to be sure. Please don’t think I’m some cruel, thoughtless human being. I’m really not, I promise. But recently it has come up a lot more than I consider to be a reasonable amount, and I need to stop this from becoming a recurring habit of mine.
When I’m unhappy, I become short and reactive- I tend to give less thought to my words in actions. On a smaller note, I stop smiling at strangers passing by. I stop holding the door open. I stop grabbing other people’s trash. I stop giving that extra 5%. No one has been more affected by this than my boyfriend, and the last thing I want is to have it negatively affect our relationship. He’s a gem and has always accepted me, faults and all, but if anything, he’s even more of a reason to combat this nematic characteristic of myself. I want to better myself for him. I want to better myself for myself.
Time for a change.
I’m going to give myself a little experiment. This next week (and hopefully forever after), I’m making the consecrated effort to act warmer. I’m going to smile, open doors, pick up trash. I’m going to make the effort. I’m going to start conversations. I’m going to put forth the compassion to think of others.
In different seasons of life, the world has looked different through my eyes. Right now, I have a clouded perspective, maybe even a bit jaded. There’s a lot of horrid happenings here in 2017, making it difficult to maintain the “glass half full” persona so many people crave. But I want that. I want to focus on the hope in the world. On the future. On the greatness of our progress. I want that to hold center stage in my heart. I know it cannot be like that all the time, but I know there is more room for it than I have occupied right now.
Making the effort to be nicer will only serve me. I have no doubt it will improve my mental health, and that in and of itself is a huge motivator to set “being nicer” as my intention. Coming home for the summer season is already making me a bit anxious about my mental health. This in no way means I intend on relapsing by any means. I’m far removed from any chance at relapsing. Not even a smidgen. I don’t even know why I mention it- I think it’s because this is mainly a recovery blog. But that idea is so far removed from where I’m at in life.
It’s hard to explain, but being home… it’s just harder. This is where everything bad happens. This is where I had a lot of toxic moments with my mom. This is where my exercise addiction and anorexia developed and manifested. Back in San Diego is home for me. Here is a distant, corrupt forest I creep into only when necessary. I feel bad saying that because this is also where my family resides and they’ve provided more than enough for me throughout the entirety of my life, but it is true. With home comes memories I don’t care to remember.
That’s why I choose to focus on being nicer. It’ll come in waves and I’ll mess up, but even just choosing to focus on this, I already feel better. It might come out as random acts of kindness and it might just be more active listening in conversations. Let’s see where this experiment takes me!
- What’s something nice you’ve done recently?
- What is a random act of kindness you’ve either done or had done to you?
- Where are you reading this from today?
- Do you tend to view the world positively, realistically, or negatively?