A few weeks ago I was stuck in a rut, feeling so hard done by and so alone that I was alienating the people whose help I needed the most. I forgot that my feelings do not override everybody else’s, no matter how hard things are.
Retrospect is one of my favourite things (I’m an ‘acting-before-thinking’ kind of person…my bad) so here are some ideas / tips about how to not be an asshole. They are in part my own way of reflecting and trying to face my flaws and mistakes in an effort to not to make them again. I wish somebody had shaken me and given me this perspective a few weeks ago.
So everyone has been an asshole at some point but how do you reign that in?
- You need to acknowledge that something is afoot
- decide what you’re going to do about it
- devise a way of not doing it again
Step outside of your own little bubble for a second and think about the fact that you can never know exactly how somebody else is feeling.
If you don’t read the rest of this post, please just take this away with you. Just stand in somebody else’s shoes for 5 minutes and get some perspective.
So what kind of scenarios are we talking about – reality is, it can happen anywhere at any time and completely unexpected. Workplace, with family, friends or strangers, there are no limits.
I know things can be super intense in your own mind and it can feel like nobody is on your side but a big part of your life is the relationships you make and maintain with other people. It is easy to justify your behaviour with excuses like ‘but they don’t understand’ or ‘just give me a break!’ but no matter how shitty things are for you, it is still your choice whether you let it affect your actions.
In the heat of the moment, what you feel is SO super important, you think ‘WHY CAN’T I GET SOME SYMPATHY UP IN HERE?!’ I get it.
To be brutally honest, the world carries on spinning and it doesn’t owe you a thing. It’s even harder if this bad time is intensified by depression, as mine was, which means that no matter how hard you try and get out of your rut, you just can’t. All of the coping mechanisms in the world can’t completely override the weight of depression. And if you’re in denial about all of the above and are blaming it on outside parties then you’re even less likely to move forward because you’re not even aware, or accepting, of the fact that you’re stuck.
Talk about your shit. People who love you will genuinely want to help you and see you happy again. Sometimes it’s difficult to make yourself vulnerable. This is made even harder if the person you want to share with doesn’t know you’ve dealt with depression before like a new partner. But if they are right for you they will not give up on you. If you are honest with them and apologetic for the things you’ve done wrong so far then they can either decide they can’t deal with it, in which case they weren’t right for you because depression isn’t going to disappear and you need someone supportive. If they want to be there for you but can’t understand it well…then you’re still pretty lucky. They’re willing to go through this with you! That’s a great start.
Nobody is telling you that what you’re feeling isn’t valid. And nobody is telling you that you are not allowed to express emotion for fear of it being undermined as a period of depression. If people are being insensitive it can be more worthwhile to surround yourself with supportive people who make you happy. No-one needs to be dragged down if they’re already having a bad time. Go at your own pace and do the right thing for you, after all, you’re the one that’s in your shoes 24/7 right?
But I IMPLORE YOU not to push the ones you love away. You want them to love you but you’re scared they might leave you. So you push them away before they leave you. Sound familiar? I wrote the book on it. But don’t do it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Every day is a blank canvas waiting for you to etch your mark, so make it a memorable one. When the weeks and months have passed it will be re-energising to look back on your achievements and happy memories which will overshadow the bad times (and distract you from being an asshole)!
I love you. The world loves you. Things WILL get better and sometimes it’s harder to reach out but it always pays off.
On a similar note, the recent passing of Robin Williams really hit me hard. How heartbreaking to feel like there is no other way. How ugly depression can be. How fortunate I really am, even if I can’t see or feel it right now.
On the other side of the fence, if someone is an arsehole to you, be it friend, family or stranger, don’t react with anger, impatience or ignorance. Maybe they’re having a bad day, week or even year. Try and be there for them as best you know how to, you never know how much even a small gesture can change how their day is going. Retaliating can only make their and your day worse.
ps. my girlfriend is amazing and thank you Debbie for not giving up on me even though I can be a giant Grand Canyon sized arsehole. I love you very much.