In my rather short life experience I came to conclusions regarding how to interact with people in best possible way. Obviously that is going to change a lot, the more new information and observations I have. Since I was a child I was rather observing, instead of throwing myself at people. It did help me understand people better, because when someone wanted to open up, they made their way to me. Rarely it was my choice of who am I ‘friends’ with, more often it was that someone just decided to stay with me, which led to some fantastic and some utterly horrible scenarios. Perhaps I will discuss it another time, today I would like to say what I think it really means to me to show respect to someone. And not just anyone, but to your family, your friends, and your partners.
Aside from the obvious – respect their boundaries, be loyal, earn and treasure their trust, everything you can hear from just anyone. What I want to say is that you should focus on yourself. You can’t be a pillar to someone else if you are not stable. Working on yourself means providing your loved ones (and to society) someone worthy. Ask yourself what do you want for your people – probably the best they can have. You can’t control what happens to them in life, but you can impact who you are to them.
It’s not about being a careless rock that is not touched by anything. This kind of approach will just make you unavaiable for them. You need to take down the walls, not to build them. You don’t have to speak out every little thing you think, but if you don’t show your heart, you aren’t really giving them a picture of who you really are. And if they don’t know you, but only some persona they had to create in their minds, it’s not really you whom they love. It can be pretty alienating for both parties. To find out you aren’t who they thought you are. You owe it to both of you to come clean. If they are reasonable, they will learn about you, and keep an open mind. If they don’t – why waste time on this.
Time. As much as I approve of people saying how letting go of unworthy people in your life is self care – I think it is much more important for your loved ones. Not just because people who are around you shape who you are, and what you do, but we all have limited time on Earth. The time you spend on people who are toxic, create drama, refuse to grow up, hold on grudges, are immature, the less time you have for yourself, your own deveopment, and your loved ones. You have less time to put yourself out there to meet new people in your life. To perhaps reach out to those you once knew, and would like to explore again. Don’t stay in shitty situations. Evaluate who is worth your time and efforts.
First step is to quit finding excuses for others, and to not take them. Everyone had their issues in life. Some experienced traumas, some didn’t, everything is subjective and we can’t compare two persons’ struggles. What is traumatic to one will have me completely unaffected, and what deeply troubles me would seem trivial to someone else. What you can compare is how people act about it. What do they choose to do about their problems. I know plenty of people who are insecure, lack confidence and are too harsh on themselves. But some take more effort to be kind to others and lift them up, while others choose to be complete assholes, and build their confidence on bringing others down, and spreading the venom. People who nitpick on meaningless crap, project things on others, focus always on people’s appearance, superficial ideas of successs, and obsess over their own ego. Having it hard, that you are unhappy, is not an excuse.
You don’t owe anyone to be their therapist and deal with their bullshit. But if someone is worth your respect, your time, your love – give them the best of you. Don’t spend time with people who only tire you, and waste your energy on their personal vendettas. Spend time with people who grow, who take interest in others, in ideas, in the world, are humble and mature, who work on themselves. Nobody is ever perfect, nobody is ever ‘already there’ to have everything figured out. But there are people out there who wish to improve with you, explore the world, lift each other up. Who choose to work on their problems, who acknowledge that nothing in life is easy, and everything takes time and work. Who understand that to open yourself up you often have to tear yourself apart with full honesty. These are people worth everything. Owe it to yourself to find them. To become them. And to make your life worth it.