Having been dismissed as this middle-of-the-road unimpressive loser in high school, I had a lot of self-esteem issues in my adolescence. There’s this chip on my shoulder, telling me that I need to disprove all of the doubters. And when I finally hit college, I joined a lot of clubs, a lot of executive boards, and tried my best for each club, just show life that I can take it and make it my bitch. That did prove a lot of people wrong, but I managed to push myself into a pit of quicksand known as anxiety, with almost no way of getting out.
When you’re involved in too many things, you get overwhelmed really easy. Some commitments can be easier than others, which I realized the hard way. I have clubs where the experience of running it is a lot of fun, almost stress-free. Then I have others, which make me question why I joined the board in the first place. In one particular club, it was like an abusive relationship. I knew it was bad for me, but I kept doing it. I was stressed, overworked, undervalued, but I still kept trying for it. I guess that’s why the bad boys always appealed to the good girls, right? They wanted something they knew they shouldn’t have. Either that, or the good girl sees the bad boy as a challenge, someone worth trying to save or change. And I can say, 90% of the time, that’s not the right way to think.
I appreciate a challenge, at times, I even like it. For me, a challenge needs to be something that when overcome, it’ll grant you some sort of validation or award. Disproving my high school doubters, that was a challenge. My validation was getting into so many club boards. But trying to solve somebody else’s problems or changing them for the better, unless you are a psychiatrist, attempting that is not overcoming a challenge: it’s being a nagger. If you love somebody or something enough, it’s okay to tell them once if something they do is offensive or bothersome. But if they still do it, then that’s really on them. Those sorts of people aren’t worth keeping around in your life. And the same with organizations. Don’t force change upon people who aren’t willing to accept it, or who are so ingrained in those qualities which you seek to change. Unless you are the director, CEO, or president, nobody will really listen to you. The only thing you can do is speak your mind once, in as objective a way possible, and then take a step back.
Another thing I found myself stepping back from are certain friendships. I will not name individuals, or slap labels on them or their actions. I will explain what they did with as little prejudice and as much objectivity as I can. I was once friends with somebody who I really loved spending time with; we would eat, gossip, talk, and just hang out together a lot. She was a very funny, sarcastic, witty, and blunt person. However, that bluntness would manifest itself in comments such as saying “fuck you” to my mother over the phone when we were going through a very personal crisis. My mom was trying to calmly talk to her through the phone, and that’s what happened. Those sort of people, as appealing as they may seem to you at first, when they say things like “it’s not my problem” when a situation they involved themselves in escalates to a person attempting suicide and another having multiple emotional breakdowns, it’s not what a friend does. A friend will try to help you. A friend will do anything they can to make sure that you’re safe. What she was, she acted that way, but when she started to become the cause, and we confronted her, that’s when she started to sing a different tune. That’s being ratty. While yes, some people do feel lonely and that does escalate any form of depression, just know that with people like the girl I just mentioned, you are better off alone. You’ll be happier not trying to keep that company around you, however you might feel at first.
Loneliness, abandonment, I felt those things a lot. I was never one of the “cool” kids growing up. I was always either a nerd or a hipster (before it was considered mainstream, obviously). I’m just kidding. That’s what a mainstream hipster would say. But friends and organizations, they are both things you need to really think about before joining. What kinds of friends are you looking for in your life? You can obviously have different social circles. For me, I have my yuppy foodies, my video game nerds, my athletic friends, my family, and the people who I can just be an awkward weirdo with. Yeah, that last category, it’s the best. People you can feel comfortable being awkward and filter-free around, they really are your true friends. That’s at least what I’ve come to realize recently. Cut out all of those people or obligations from your life that make you do or feel bad things. Only surround yourself with friends who will love you, and encourage good habits. That’s one huge key to being a happier person. That’s a secret to being feather-light.