I can’t tell if this is the worst year of my life or one of the best. I’ve learned some harsh lessons the hard way as we head into the last couple months of 2019. What I do know, is that the truth hurts.
Here are some lessons that stand out (and continually slap me across the face in the form of a harsh, cold reality):
Loneliness Wears Many Masks
It’s funny that we live in a society where we are always “on” and readily available. We can get food to our door in a matter of minutes, a warm body lying next to us with just a swipe, 24/7 fitness centers, and workspaces, yet we are such a lonely generation.
Loneliness takes many forms — it looks like desperation. We trade one desperation for another because we are, at the root of it all — lonely. Loneliness looks like the bottle of wine you finished by yourself last night. It can look like random DM’s from your douche bag of 2017 who is away on business and out of his girlfriend’s loving grasp. Loneliness looks like you hitting up your ex because you are romanticizing about your tumultuous relationship while listening to the newest Halsey single on your commute home.
We brush our loneliness off as harmless, but it is that very notion leads me to think that loneliness is dangerous.
Friendships (sometimes) have an expiration date
Your “bestie, your “person,” your other half of the dancing girl emoji pair — they’ll be in your life forever. ?
Wrong. Well, not necessarily, anyway.
Just as other people, places and things are in our lives for a season, the same holds true for our very best friends.
Sometimes it will be due to a falling out, and sometimes it can just happen.
No explanation, no particular reason, no Real Housewives of NYC worthy made-for-TV feud— sometimes you drift apart. Understandably, this can bring on just as much pain as a romantic relationship ending, especially when you have shared so much turmoil, trauma, and triumphs with that person (I had to keep going with the ‘T’ alliteration, sorry. ).
A heartbreaking situation like this can result in (righteous) feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness. It’s hard not to take it personally. It’s a bruise to the ego, a bullet to the heart, and a complete mind fuck.
A harsh reality I’ve learned this year is that sometimes you are just too much for some people. Not everyone has the empathy and compassion you do. Not everyone has the capacity to handle stress and chaos as you have shown for your family and friends. While you may be a friend who would overextend themselves and throw boundaries to the wind when it comes to your friends, many will not do the same for you. And that’s okay. We all have our limits, and it isn’t your place to define others’ lines in the sand. Stay in your lane, accept what is, and send them love & gratitude for what they did bring to your life while they were in it.
As difficult as it might be, it’s not something to dwell on. Quite frankly — they don’t owe you anything, including an explanation.
Sometimes it just is what it is.
You will not be the one who changes him (or her)
When you love someone, you want to see the very best in that person regardless of the circumstances. You want to believe that their intentions are pure and that their actions are without cause or understanding. We refuse to remove our rose-colored glasses because ignorance is bliss as long as we are living in this reality.
I have some news for you. And no, this isn’t written atop my high horse or glasshouse. This is a painful truth I continue to struggle with. I said goodbye to someone this past week because I had the harsh, cruel, sickening, and earth-shattering “AHA” moment that I cannot change them. I’ve been waiting around hoping to any semblance of God that I’ll be worth the change and positive disruption. Or the catalyst that brings on a rude awakening that’ll lead to a happily ever after.
It’s not going to happen.
No, let that sink in. It’s not going to happen.
You cannot change someone’s unhealthy patterns or behaviors. You won’t be enough to make them want to change. They’ll change when they want to, IF they even want to and quite bluntly, most of the time it takes a professional to facilitate true and long-lasting change.
I get it. I see you. You’re waiting patiently, resorting back to old patterns and unhealthy dynamics, hoping that it’ll all be worth it in the end. It won’t be. We are who we are. We won’t change unless we decide to make a change. Nobody can beg, borrow, or negotiate actual change. And you won’t be the one to change them.
Substance abuse [see also: addiction] can happen to anyone.
Be careful, my love. You are not above addiction, and you are not immune to bad habits. Societally accepted mind-numbing techniques will not stop at that. There is a science, a pathology, and madness behind your bad habits which can morph into an unhealthy dependency.
Be mindful of your routine.
Be cautious about your habits.
Listen to the loving words of those around you.
Maintain your self-awareness and self-analysis.
It can happen to anyone.
Addiction transpires when we repeat a behavior that is not healthy.
It can, many times, mask itself as soothing, numbing, and soothing.
Self-Sabotage is a form of Self-Harm
You’re emotionally cutting yourself.
When you sabotage something in your own life, the only person you are hurting is you.
You knew that, didn’t you.
Because you’re a smart cookie.
But seriously, why do we do this? WHY, for Christ’s sake, do we:
- Find an excuse to not go to the gym regularly
- Heavily drink for the 3rd day in a row and miss an application deadline
- Cancel a session with a doctor or therapist
- Spend an hour on Instagram instead of reading that book on boundaries and personal growth
- Go back to a toxic relationship
- Practice improper money management
- Netflix ALL WEEKEND instead of preparing healthy, nutritious meals
These are all examples of self-sabotage.
Yeah, I know you know that. As I said, you are a smart (gluten-free and vegan) cookie. ?
But why do we do that? WHY?
Somewhere along the line, you told yourself that you weren’t worthy of good things and you need to punish yourself.
It’s not laziness, it’s the loveless relationship you have with yourself.
Instead of making moves and reaching your goals, you told yourself:
- You won’t be attractive until you get to ____ size or hit ____ pounds, so why bother?
- You don’t deserve that grant with a reasonable deadline you just missed.
- You don’t want to pay the deductible for your doctor or therapist (which, PS, equates the cost of the alcohol you purchased over the weekend that resulted in your missing your deadline).
- One more scroll on IG. One more view and his/her story. Oh, wait — they just posted again. Omg, I have to send this to my girlfriends. Oh, wait — they posted again. BRB, about to waste another hour of my life.
- He/she will be different this time. He/she said if I change they will too. They didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it. We were in a bad place. Three weeks and two days have passed. He/she has to have changed the patterns they have practiced for decades. We’re the exception. He’s the exception.
- I needed that dress from Zara (note to yourself: you didn’t.)
- Meh, I’ll just Seamless it. I’ll meal prep next week.
Stop punishing yourself. What did you do in your life that would cause you to veer towards self-destructive behavior that hijacks your hopes, goals, and ambitions?
Self-sabotaging tells your brain (and mind, and body, and soul) that you are not worth it. It encourages us to stay stagnant, not move forward, and accept bummer after bummer.
I’ll tell you how this story ends: you wind up feeling depressed, hopeless, and anxious as everything you set out to do has not been done. Depression causes us not to want to move forward. It leads to greater self-loathing and lower self-esteem.
Break the cycle today. Stop sabotaging your life. It only hurts you, and what reason do you have to be hurting yourself?
The truth may hurt, but the truth sets us free.