I've found, in my experience, that it's therapeutic to write when you're feeling down. Actually, I've found it's therapeutic to just write. Noticing that I've only posted to this blog a handful of times this year, I reflect on the fact that I have probably neglected not only my therapy, but my joy. My soul feels this neglect.
There have been many changes that have caused this lapse; a new job, a new puppy, gains and losses. My life is no different from anyone else's. Everyone experiences these peaks and valleys. It is just a fact of human existence. I think it would be a bit egotistical to say that my life is any better or any harder than someone else's. If there's anything I've learned in my 53 years of life, though I've lived through some pretty horrific situations, there will always be someone whose life is much more challenging than I could ever know. How do I have the right to get hung up on myself?
These last few months of 2013 have been amongst the most challenging of my life. I've hesitated to share, because some things have been said to me that have caused me to really take my inventory. I've gone back to a tenant of a twelve step program, and though I don't give myself over to the thought of a higher power, I do take it very seriously when people who I consider important in my life tell me perceived negatives about myself that could use "tweaking". It is not comfortable or pleasant to hear; "You are too soft. You take things too personally. You are annoying. You are too sensitive." Some of the more hurtful things, I keep to myself, but try not to dwell on them. I keep them in this place in my mental safe where I can use them as a touchstone to remind myself that if I am not careful, the things that I have always thought were positives of my character, can be thought of to others as negatives. It's a bitter pill to swallow. Especially for someone who has always fought to look beyond the hardships and keep depression at bay.
On the other side of the coin, I remind myself that I am not entirely responsible for someone else's perceptions. I have never been purposefully hurtful. It isn't in my makeup to cause pain. Quite the opposite, I think that I can be a detriment to my own well-being because I often put others before myself. When you're in the moment, if your heart is in the right place, you don't do these things for recognition or thanks. You just do them because it is in your soul. Not having been blessed with monetary surplus, you try to give of yourself because that is what you have to give. Sometimes, you give too much of yourself and you get hurt. These are the risks going in. You know it, and yet you do it. You put yourself out there.
I have been told that I should stand up for myself more. That I shouldn't let people walk all over me. I've tried this in the past few months. The problem is that the end result doesn't make me feel like a better person. It makes me feel argumentative and small. It doesn't edify my soul. It makes me feel like someone I am not. I don't like conflict. I don't fight well. I end up crying because I'm "overly sensitive" and I keep asking myself if I felt better when I let people take advantage of me, or if I felt better when I stood up for myself. Are these the kinds of growing pains one should feel when they're 53 years old?
Someone recently told me that 80% of my Facebook posts were negative. It was a dagger in my heart. I knew this wasn't true, but I couldn't help but think if that was really what people's perception of me was. Then I thought back to the others who told me I was too sensitive and took everything too personally. I asked myself if I'd rather be thought of as too sensitive as opposed to 80% negative. Again, I'm back to perception. The last thing I want is for people to think of me as negative. Perception is a funny thing. I can claim responsibility for my overly sensitive nature, but am I responsible for what someone else thinks of me? Do I have to entertain the thought of merit in their opinion? Does it speak to my sense of humanity or lack of character if I don't?
I took a good, hard look around me at the people I choose to surround myself with. There is not one person amongst them that I wouldn't call cream of the crop. Good, honest, kind, loving souls. The kind of people that I hope think of me the same way. If the measure of a person is the people who call them friends, then without any sense of conceit or regret, I have to believe that I am a good, kind, loving soul. And yet, I have come to realize that there are other people who have a much different perception of the person that I believe that I am. How can there be such a great disparity? How can I not bear some of the responsibility for this perception? What is there to be done?
These are heavy thoughts that have weighed heavily on my soul. On the one hand, am I being that typical overly sensitive Pua and taking things too personally? Or have I somehow been neglectful of someone else's feelings and managed to make them dislike me enough to say hurtful things?
As I move into this new year, I have much to reflect upon. Mostly, I have been asking myself on an almost daily basis, "What can you do, Pua, to make someone's life better because you've been part of it?" I can't help but think that these are not the thoughts of a negative person.