How has your week been? My week has been a rollercoaster. I had a headache that lasted about five days, and wouldn't go away with anything, and it was only on the right side of my head. Then on wednesday/thursday, I got vertigo again, after about a month of not having it. This was as I was recording my 20 facts video (embedded below), and iMovie was giving me trouble and not recording. I am still practicing being in front of the camera, since I'm more of a write than a speaker, but I am determined to get better at the video-making. I look so uncomfortable in this video, lol. Probably because I was concerned about recording in vain. Luckily iMovie got it's act together and I managed to record the video afterall. My 20 Facts are quite random. You have been warned!
Yesterday (friday) was a bit of an enlightenment day. I had had a fabulous day all day, and was on a high from life having been so good and kind to me. Until at the very end of it, when someone decided to be nasty to me, - by act of omission. In other words, it wasn't something someone did to me, but rather what they didn't do. Luckily, this time I had someone there to witness the whole thing, and who later told me that they too had noticed and disliked what happened, and thought it was 'ugly'. I was so hurt by this person's actions, I spent the rest of the evening feeling miserable. I was grateful for all the fabulousness previously, but at the end of the day, someone had put a dark cloud over my head and it was weighing me down.
Later on though, I thought to myelf, "Rebeca. You have a choice. You can either suffer because someone else has wronged you and failed to be a decent Christian, or, you can let it go, reject the negativity, and accept that if anyone should feel bad, it should be the person who was in the wrong." Then I felt strong, and empowered, and I had shrugged it off. I came home, relaxed, and had no issues falling asleep. Then I woke-up at 2am, and couldn't go back to sleep. I feel uneasy. And now here I am. Awake at 3:30am, rambling on my blog, and unable to go back to sleep because my tummy is now a bag of nerves. I look calm, but inside, I feel like I am about to explode into tears. Only it's not going to happen. I won't breakdown. I tried going back to sleep, and trust me, I feel tired, but my body just won't let go. It's not just what this person did or didn't do. That was just a trigger for other things that have been happening and building up, and this person either has no idea what their actions have done, or doesn't care. So why should I? Yet that isn't comforting. Will I regret this post? Probably.
I wanted to share because I know I am not alone in feeling like this. Often times, we feel hurt when others wrong us, but that's almost like punishing ourselves further. Wasn't being mistreated by someone else enough? Do we have to react by torturing ourselves? Why do we punish ourselves? You have to accept that you are a wonderful human being and anyone who does not see that, is missing out. This doesn't mean, go out there and be arrogant. It means focus on your positives. Love what is good about you, inside and out. Nobody is all good, or all bad. Including ourselves. If people want to be snobby and nasty towards us, it's their loss, not ours. Do you really need the time, attention, - almost validation, of someone who does not know how to be a decent human being? No. The world is full of people who put up a façade, and pretend to be something they are not. Some will never take off their smile. Some will pretend to like you when they don't. I have a bit of a pet peeve when it comes to people like that. People who never have a bad day, and get on well with everyone, because the fact is, bad things happen, and we can't always like and get along wonderfully with absolutely everybody, unless someone's being fake, and I can't stand fake! But I'm getting side-tracked.
A few days ago I had an ah-ha moment. For the first time in my life I put my foot down and halted someone who was being downright out of order. I wouldn't go so far as to say this person is or was a friend of mine. We were acquainted and there was never a problem between us. There was no reason for there to be. Yet my gut had always warned me to be cautious. Something about this person didn't sit right with me, but like I say, there was nothing to validate my gut feeling. Then as I got to know this person a bit better, all my intial misgivings, and more, were confirmed. At first, I did what I have always done. I gave the benefit of the doubt. I shrugged things off. This was the worst thing I could ever have done. This is the exact pattern that has always guaranteed that I end up 'stuck' in toxic friendships, filled with drama. I've never been easily persuaded to do anything I don't want to do, so in that sense, I've never gotten into much trouble. However emotionally, I have often found myself drained. This time, I saw what was coming and reminded myself that I had a choice. So, in very clear terms told this person exactly what I thought, and politely put an end to the whole thing, and it was fine. It was relieving. I took control of a situation I didn't like, and knowing that perhaps this person wasn't being intentionally malicious, no longer seemed like a valid excuse for me to grin and bear it. I just clicked. I saw that this has always been my problem. I'm too nice. I let myself see the good in people, even when the bad outways the good, and the only one harmed, is me. In other words, seeing the good in people, is a good thing, but if their flaws out way their virtues, and you start to feel used, trampled on, suffocated, drained, etc, then it's time to wish them the best and say goodbye. Let go.
A couple of years ago, I had this friend who was a broken soul. This person was extremely manipulative and in denial about a lot of their own issues. Quickly into our friendship this person started abusing my generosity, while manipulating everything to make it appear as if our friendship was based on give and take in equal measure. This so-called friend did the same thing by their partner, who eventually walked away from my so-called friend, which then made my so-called friend embrace the position of victim, and declare a constant pity party, while at the same time, not quite acting like a victim, but more like a vulture. Sounds contradictory? It was. It was refined manipulation on every level in extreme doses. This so-called friend would talk me into going to places I didn't want to go to, and although nothing terribly awful happened at these places - mostly because I am cautious and don't tend to do things that are particularly damming, - I'd still be left with this huge sense of regret. Regret that I had just wasted time and money, and I hadn't even enjoyed myself. Typical toxic behaviour. "No" was never an answer by this so-called friend, who tried terribly hard to change me and drag me down. It took an extreme event for me to finally cut the ties, and even then, this so-called friend kept on at me, with vile manipulations. I simply ignored it all, until finally, I was left in peace. The sense of relief that I felt was immense. I knew I often felt suffocated and drained whenever I was around this person, but in a funny way, I think I had gotten used to it. I didn't like the amount of negativity this person seemed to generate, but I had some how, gotten used to it. I put it down to being part and parcel of our friendship, and that it wasn't all bad. There were good times and laughs. But the bad quickly outweighed the good, and that's not a good place to be investing time and emotions at any point in our life. Cutting that friendship was the best thing I ever did for my own mental and emotional sanity.
It's taken me a long time to find the courage to steer clear of people who don't enrich my life. Being in a foreign country doesn't help, but it's not an excuse. It's always better to be alone that in bad company. I have often found myself in troublesome situations with toxic friendships. At first I tell myself I need to be more patient with people and try to be less sensitive. However, I think I have figured out that although there might be an element of truth in that, it's not the whole picture. I can't constantly make excuses for others because I am imperfect, just as my imperfections mean I have no right to judge others. However, observing and affirming, and then deciding whether or not you think a relationship is worth entertaining - whether it be a friendship, a romance, or even a family member, - is not the same as being overly sensitive and judgmental from the get-go. Anyway, I feel better now. It's almost 5am, but I feel tired again, and I think this time I will fall back asleep again.