It’s easy for our brains to take in the information we learn but physically or emotionally applying that information to determine an outcome is where the real test lies. You could rewrite your notes a hundred times to etch everything the professor said into motor memory and you could pull all-nighters every night of the week, but actually applying all the stored knowledge to that final exam is the moment of truth. In the same way, it’s easy to learn how to consciously identify your short-comings and ways to overcome them but physically and emotionally making those changes can be difficult and often times discouraging.
Over the past few weeks, I gained a wealth of knowledge on how to recognize and overcome the short-comings that have been most crippling to my healthy state of mind. I was finally able to answer the burning questions I’d been asking myself through my entire adult life. Why do I always feel left out? And why don’t they like me as much as they seem to like each other? How can I feel included if I can’t even talk about what they talk about? I wish I was more like them. I wish I was more fun like them.
Answer: because I alienate myself.
I can blame this on childhood events or just on my personality but the truth is, I’ve been focusing too much on myself. I’ve been fixated how I’m different instead of relating to others as the same human beings seeking the same kind of happiness. And although knowing this starts to break down the isolating barriers I built for years, I know nothing will change unless I make that mental and emotional change. I also know that reversing over ten years of these negative tendencies will not happen overnight.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you forget that change takes time and often times, that change requires many steps. So rather than focusing on the change itself, focus on the steps you need to make that change instead. That way, on the days you find it difficult to overcome negative tendencies — or whatever short-comings you’ve identified — the disappointment turns into an opportunity to learn how to better approach those difficult moments tomorrow.
Today was my difficult day. I thought I was having a great time (and I was) but a few happenings in the day started to make me I feel out of place, like I was the friend being invited just for the sake of inviting. I wrestled with knowing that I needed to stop focusing on how different I was and why they were excluding me; I knew I needed to just realize how much fun we were having — just three friends enjoying a weekend together. But at the same time, I also wanted them to know how they were making me feel and I wanted them to change it. I wanted them to change because it seemed easier than me making the change. I fought between knowing what to do and doing it, and even though I wasn’t able to fully overcome my negativity emotionally, I can better identify those feelings in the moment and how to navigate through them now.
So I may not be one step closer to making the change I need for a healthier, happier state of mind, but I’m certainly one day closer to that step.
DAY 21. Love, Ro