Most people when they’re younger have the tendency to think, feel, and act in extremes. Gray area doesn’t exist. I was not an exception. The pattern I found myself in as a younger person was choosing to buy into the darkness (negativity) instead of the lightness (positivity). Even less common would be my acknowledgment that the two modes of being could coexist, albeit in varying degrees.
A decade of my life consisted of major self-absorption, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, depression, and fickle friendships. What changed for me eventually? Well, not to be glib, but I just got tired. I was so tired of feeling hopeless, stagnant, and down on myself. I wanted to just be, for better or for worse. The simple beauty is that I chose to stop buying into the darkness. I chose to stop caring what everyone thought of me. What helped was the realization that how I look, what I say, and what I do from one moment to the next really does not matter in the scheme of things.
Whatever legacy or impression I have on others, I want to be generally positive. That said, I don’t advocate falsehood. Gaining the approval of someone else for the sake of it is tiring. Who has time for that? If someone doesn’t embrace you or buy into your lightness, then move along. If they have nothing to offer you of value, or vice versa, that’s okay. Not every exchange or relationship needs to be profound.
Similarly, if something about who I am isn’t sitting well with me one moment, that doesn’t mean that I have a major character flaw that requires immediate fixing. Not everything that happens is happening to us. Sometimes it just is. For example, after a date or a meeting, you could think, “Why did I say that? That was so stupid!” Who cares? Let the mortification float by, or better yet, laugh at it. I promise you, even if the person may remember, you can choose to make it delightful, funny, and not miserable.
Choosing a more positive, lighter approach is much more enjoyable. Giving people the benefit of the doubt does put you at risk for disappointment sometimes, and I certainly do not suggest naiveté. But, assuming the worst in others, life, or yourself is just a heavy, heavy weight to bear and you don’t have to deal with that if you don’t want to.
Perhaps I’ve become lazy, but I am so glad that I don’t feel that weight anymore, of trying to be a certain way or wondering how I’m being perceived at every single moment. Nobody cares. If you’re struggling with how to access this attitude, then do what I did and use every drop of your self-pity tank for 10+ years until you peter out. Feeling like a floating speck of dust under the sun is way better than a germ under a cold microscope.
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