I was told today that I have been different.
Coming from an argument with a loved one, it really struck me as something I should pay attention to.
Although mortified and upset at the moment, this person was right. Who was I? Why have I been this way?
I began to internalize why I may be perceived as different, and it hit me. My confidence has changed. I look back and try to understand where the shift began, and I realized my own personal struggle has led me to find myself farther from the confidence I needed to gain.
A year ago, I was admitted into the hospital for mental health difficulties. Feeling as though there was no where else for me to go, my boyfriend took me in an attempt to help. He was right to be confused, as no one knows how to handle someone who seems to not appreciate life, and in turn, how can they appreciate them?
He stayed with me through the night of course, but I realized this issue I had was breaking down people around me. He was quiet and caring, but his girlfriend wanted to die, and honestly I don’t blame him for being scared.
Now a year later, the conversation comes up again. Ever since that night, I shifted my life not for the better, but for comfortability.
I was scared to take leaps forward, scared to put my best self forward and scared to be rejected. He explained that I no longer relax, listen and enjoy the people around me. I am more uptight and frantic about things, having to be in every conversation and hoping for approval with my words.
He is right again.
I need to be confident in my abilities, in my words and in my life entirely. I started reflecting on the past few months, and I know now that I have been hiding my true self. This isn’t who I am. I love deeply and care strongly: THAT is who I am.
I reflected for hours on this conversation, replaying most of my interactions with people to see if I was an annoyance to them. Wrong. I was doing it again.
Instead of solving this issue that I created, I was exacerbating it. I am supposed to love myself and understand that the people I hold close to me can love me, or won’t. There isn’t any power in the world that can force someone to love you and be your friend if they do not want to be.
As depressing as it may sound, it is a positive start to finding who I am again. I have always felt guilty in conflict, in the “what ifs” and what someone was thinking about me. Instead of worrying so much about everyone else, I am going to worry about myself.
I don’t care how someone sees me. I don’t care if they don’t like me. I can listen and engage, while leaving my own words out sometimes. I will be accepted only if I am confident. Anxiety is a b*itch, but in my case the only way to handle it is through hard work within myself.
Well, I never expected this column to go this way as I thought all week about what I may write. Today, of course, the subject came right to me on a silver platter. I can do better, and I need to be better.
For the record, it may seem as though this conversation was condescending to how I am living my life, but at the end of the day, the truth hurts. Fixing it is the hard part, but hearing it is just the fire I needed.