It happened overnight. And that isn’t an exaggeration.
A while ago, last week to be exact, I felt incredibly low. One of the reasons was this severe hacking cough that had taken over my system which progressively developed into a full-blown infection.
The other was the feeling that very few people I thought of as close friends (save two of them), actually cared to reach out personally to check on me. (Yes, I know. Self pity is a different kind of Hell).
But there’s a liberation that comes from this kind of situation. It’s the knowledge that:
You don’t matter to others as much as you think you do.
Wait, what? And this is a good thing? Really?
Turns out it actually is a very good thing. Because the one thing that keeps us attached to people is the incredible weight of expectations.
Being a friend or a supportive relative comes with its own range of land mines. If you’re reasonably close to someone there is an unspoken understanding that you care about them. Enough to check on them every once in a while.
But you also know the downside of this, right? Yep. How do you decide who matters more to you?
At what time does a relationship move from ‘I’m your friend’ to ‘Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a week. Is everything okay?’
The reason for that is the fact that all relationships are two-way streets. You reach out regularly to people and there is a sort of underlying assumption that they will do the same when you need it.
The problem with this assumption? It’s thinking that people invest equal amounts of energy in a relationship. And there’s nothing further from the truth.
The other downside of this kind of relationship? It’s expecting that people you consider friends will be as deeply invested in your joys and triumphs as you are in theirs.
Again, this is not true. There could be a number of reasons for it.
- They could be struggling with self doubt.
- They just cannot feel Firgun the way you can.
- They don’t even know there’s anything to rejoice about because they’re dealing with their own challenges.
- They find your journey inscrutable and find themselves unwilling to cheer for it.
In tiny ways I let this get to me. I moped, read posts about loneliness (yeah, pitiful), binge watched a TV show and drowned myself in countless cups of green tea. Hey, I couldn’t have ice-cream, okay?
But after that haze of the victim mentality lifted (as did the fog of a blocked nose), I could see things clearly.
I sat down and wrote out my vision for my work, my life and my relationships. Staring back at me was the answer.
If I chose to live my life on the basis of other people’s presence and approval in my life, I would never be happy.
And then, the heaviness in my heart lifted. I literally felt lighter. (No, the weighing scales did not confirm this).
So the only thing you are left with is the ball in your court.
You have a choice.
Are you going to mope about the fact that people don’t care and let it hinder your progress?
Or are you going to strap on the goggles of reality, smile and decide that you’re going to be you, no matter what?