Do you ever have an ‘is it me’ day? The kind of day where you feel unappreciated or used and feel that other people, either at home or work, are acting in a self-interested, judgemental or unfair way. It’s easy for these feelings to spiral and it’s possible that you may find yourself withdrawing or arguing. It might feel challenging to find a way to live around those who only think of themselves.
There are a lot of articles online about ‘toxic’ people and ‘toxic’ relationships. Sometimes I nod my head in agreement as I read them but there are times when I pause and reflect on what ‘toxic’ means and what a damaging and convenient label it can be. My understanding of toxic is anything that damages me in some way. It’s easy to see how a poor diet or lack of exercise can be harmful to our wellbeing. However, what about if the source of damage is in your family. What then?
We’re nicely settled into the New Year now. It’s already February. January with all its promise of new beginnings seems so long ago. And what are we left with? Ourselves, as always.
Motivational speakers seem to be everywhere at the moment. Around every corner I turn there’s another, and they are all wearing slightly different hats to promote new trends. It’s starting to feel exhausting trying to take on all these messages: be a winner, detoxify your life, get rid of those toxic friends, eat clean and so on. The subtext is always the same: there’s something wrong with what you are doing. Another reason to beat yourself up, if that’s how you find yourself spending your time. Watching a glossy webinar about how to get your life back on track doesn’t always cut the mustard. It can make you feel like ‘that’ lifestyle is so unattainable that you might as well crawl back under the duvet with a tub of ice-cream.
I recently read something online (sorry, I can’t remember the source). It involved two people discussing relationships and one said something along the lines of “don’t bother arguing, just say ‘you’re right'”. The other person was unconvinced and protested that stating an opinion and arguing until the other person accepted, or at least acknowledged it, was the right approach. The first person carried on walking and simply said “you’re right”. It still makes me laugh.
Have you ever felt like your life is happening and you’re just sitting back watching it? It can be a very distressing experience to realise that you simply don’t have the energy or inclination to get back on track and live the life you know you want to live. It might feel like all those people buzzing around you have got it all worked out and you feel like sitting down on the floor and weeping. How could I have got this all so wrong? It might be that other people in your life are fed up with you and tell you to pull yourself together. It’s very painful to feel misunderstood, particularly by those who are meant to love us.
The only person who can really know that what you’re doing isn’t working is you. You’re the one who has to try and get yourself to sleep at night. No one else can do that for you. All those things that keep churning over in your mind may be hard to silence. The missed opportunities, the regrets, the sadnesses, the grief, the what ifs. In times of loss the noise we create inside our heads can become very loud. At some point it might become unbearable and you might need some help because what you are doing isn’t working. Or maybe it’s what you’re not doing that is not helping.