The gift of a new perspective

Submitted into Contest #175 in response to: Write a story that includes someone saying, “Thank you for that.”... view prompt

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Friendship Inspirational Sad

This story contains sensitive content

Warning: This story contains situations involving mental health issues, along with potential sensitive vocabulary for some...


It sincerely felt unfeasible to thoroughly fathom why I withheld such a deleterious compulsion of self loathing. I depleted a drastically disturbing amount of time examining the way I was wired, along with religiously fault finding and criticizing my habits and behavior. I had substantial amounts of built up agony, animosity, and bleakness, towards not only the world, yet myself. I couldn't seem to triumph the battle against my own thoughts...Each time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of my own worst enemy...

Day after day, I would negatively consume myself, by reanalyzing and dissecting each aspect of every individual experience, exceeding beyond a normal limit. Ranging from what I may have said or done to someone, to even just a certain look or tone they may have given me. These self induced mental burdens were infinitely descending and terminating any chance I had left at self reassurance. I had always been instinctively detail oriented and observant of each element to cross paths with me, whether this was desirable, or displeasing. I reevaluated each situation I was in to an extreme, and always made it a point to self reflect. Generally, this emerged to me systematically asking myself deranged and perpetual questions ferociously. I would sit and speculate why I am the way I am? Why I say the things I say? I would pessimistically measure my qualities with inconsequential individuals. I could never seem to evade these atrocious self afflictions that I exhausted myself with routinely.

I everlastingly worked diligently, in addition to effortlessly carrying immense empathy and compassion for others. I had always been a firm believer of karma, and always set out for giving back to the world and individuals, even some who may have seemed undeserving of such. I thrived off hard work, and achieving to be the greatest at everything I did. Somehow though, I always came to the conclusion that I was bound to be inadequate. If I hadn't, lo and behold, someone else constantly assured me that I was far from sufficient. I was hankering to alter the way I was programmed, and how my brain worked. I mournfully desired the capability to immortally shut it off. 

Although in the back of my mind, I recognized it was impractical to seek pleasing everyone, I couldn’t restrain my subconscious mind from aspiring to do so. Some would have referred to me as a sycophant, or brown nose; yet I was regularly attempting to avoid confrontation, and pursuit spreading positivity. Many haven't had the eye opening realization that negativity is just as contagious as positivity unfortunately. I had committed to being a reliable, consistent, “go to” man. Sadly, the difficulty with being a so-called “go-getter”, is you easily get manipulated and stomped on in the world. You will also have loads of targets on your back. I couldn't help but notice a sickening pattern that began to strike. I had observed that when I was more vocal with my pride and bliss, people seemed more prone and aspired to tear me down. Yet, when I internalized all my thoughts and emotions, began silencing myself, that's when they finally left me alone. Others get jealous, and threatened by people's hard work and confidence. Rather than being supportive and gathering together as one, many would rather just beat you down to the ground. They want to see you fold, because it is easier for one to bring others down and deflect, rather than working on self improvement. Hurt people will always hurt people. They will misinterpret your eagerness and kindness as a weakness, and many will seek your vulnerability and take it for granted. This not only pays a toll on one's mental health, but also gradually starts to plunder your ambition and drive in life.

You begin to ponder, asking yourself if anyone else even cares about how you feel, or what you want? Then, you merely start to become skeptical if maybe something is just wrong with you? 

I would spend each day frantic, speculating why I am different from these other people? Their priorities in life seemed so backwards, so empty and dull. Why did they care who said what, or who went to whose party [ext.]. I didn’t want to mix myself up with these judgmental, negative energies, yet I could not seem to steer away from them. I would question their cruel, childish, exclusive ways, yet everyone just told me to, “play the game”. They would declare, “it's sad, but that's just the way of the world”...But why? Why have we allowed these new toxic principles to be okay? I don’t like these discounted phrases, or sorry excuses for the reason that people have become heartless and thoughtless of others. Humans are like books, unpredictable, mysterious, and full of surprises. We all have unheard stories, and pages that people haven’t flipped to or discovered yet. You never know what someone may be battling, physically or mentally. These gloomy diversions in life just create more unnecessary weight within. Which for some people, that may just be the cherry on top of the real shit in life that they already had going on. But that's the sad reality nobody wants to talk about. It's a lot easier to just call someone a jerk and speak ill of them, rather than to potentially question why they have acted a certain way. Maybe this person lost a loved one, maybe this person is struggling with the internal battle of depression? We have no clue what is going on in the lives around us, and woefully, less people each day are taking the time to evaluate these probable circumstances.

We’ve created these sorrowful, fabricated expectations for people to unrealistically live up to. I vigorously attempted to pretend to be okay with this, as if it didn’t affect me. I found it mentally draining to abide by these so-called , “unwritten social rules & games” of the world. Even though I was aware of them, it didn’t make it any easier for me to filter myself. I knew life shouldn’t be a game, and it wasn't. I would try to fit the part, but eventually I was spontaneously and impulsively speaking before thinking. This irrational behavior was influenced by my internal thoughts and emotions getting the best of me. I would say something, and immediately regret it. My impetuous decisions were getting out of hand, I had begun to lose control.

I spent months researching the human brain, attempting to be erudite of human psychology and potential effects on brain development. I stubbornly devoted myself, to coming to grips intellectually on why I behaved in certain ways, or reacted the way I did to situations. I found myself acting out of character...I was getting easily overstimulated, as well as effortlessly triggered. Experts declared that having sudden outbursts/oversharing often happens when we are overwhelmed with ourselves, and trying to unwittingly mask or control our own anxiety. Whether this was my sorry attempt to fit in, or my implausible expectations I had set for myself, it didn't matter, because I was letting these people win. I famished my time filling in slots in peoples' heads about me supernaturally, attempting to take away the chance for them to misinterpret me…even sometimes resulting in me betraying myself neglectfully, and carelessly. Only to minutes later rewind every word I said, wondering why I even opened my mouth. It goes back to my abandonment issues, toxic shame, and being the entertainer of a dysfunctional household. Leading to the fawn trauma response, which resulted in me naturally pleasing people.

I wanted to not care, but I subliminally found myself afraid of what others thought. My "safe way" was to always wear a mask, put up a fake front for the world. It just seemed easier to fake it til I made it. I had lost touch with who I truly was, and I didn’t want to bother anyone with my burdens or opinions. This led to me bottling everything up internally to avoid any conflict. Which resulted in unrealistic expectations for not only myself, but the others around me. It also subtly demonstrated my failure and capability to handle confrontation and reactions from real people in the real world.

I began to get restless each day as I felt I was self sabotaging myself relentlessly. My attachment style was insecure, and I tended to over seek proximity with people. I did this subconsciously, by frantic efforts to bond and attach to individuals; while also attempting to hide the fact that deep down, I was unwillingly fearful of abandonment and disapproval. I was lethally searching for myself through others insignificant viewpoints, and inadvertently seeking approval.

I had never truly felt like I had a “safe person”, that I could run to with my emotions or thoughts rushing through my brain. When I was younger, any time I attempted to voice my opinions, I was shut down, or dismissed. I was consistently blamed, or told that I was just too sensitive. My narcissistic mother was never really around after the divorce, and my ungrateful, bipolar father lived four hours away. Not that it really mattered, because I was just a servant and a chef for him anyways. I had never truly learned the value of having someone that appreciated my strengths or skills in life. Nobody was there to give me guidance, or uplift me when I needed it. I was manipulated, and laughed at by the people who mentally abused me when I brought up these trauma experiences. These puppet masters and narcissists shot me down, and now I unintentionally seek validation that I am in fact good enough.  

I had always gone above and beyond, yet felt that no one genuinely appreciated the extreme extent I went to for them. Taking care of my diabetic, alcoholic father, only at the age fourteen, while being neglected by my mother, who landed in a permanent midlife crisis when I was thirteen. I had to start working at a concession stand at a ballpark near my house, just to have money for groceries. I wasn’t even technically old enough to work yet, but they generously paid me cash under the table due to my situation. My mother would disappear for months at a time, leaving me with nothing. Only to ever see her return to pack up more stuff, and vanish yet again. Many people looked up to their parents, but I was the complete opposite. I wanted to be nothing like them. I strived to cleanse my mind of all their brainwashing, and negative habits I could have potentially developed in my childhood. Events like this moderately explain how I became so self reliant and independent. Rather than dwelling on the circumstances, I took the opportunity to educate myself of basic life skills. I learned at an early age that if I didn't allow myself to rely on these unpredictable people, I wouldn't be disappointed. It became easier to not have expectations for people to let down. 

 I had always felt that one genuine person was worth more than a thousand careless people in your life. I wanted that, but it felt unattainable… I was extremely overwhelmed with my own thoughts, my heart was thumping through my ears. I had never struggled with being alone in my own thoughts like this before. I had convinced myself I didn’t need anyone else in my life, and I was okay with that. Shutting people out became my first resort, because nowadays, many people have ulterior motives and ill intentions. They aren’t always looking out for your best interest unfortunately, even when you don’t realize it. 

Turns out, the right person just hadn’t been introduced into my life yet. One day, the universe sent me a sign, and it was an intelligent, nurturing, exhilarating man. Over time, we became extremely close, and I considered him my “person”, my ride or die. I had never experienced this before, or even allowed myself to do such a thing. Even my so-called friends in life never demonstrated the type of support and positivity that he gave me. Each time I was with him, I felt this rush going through my body, I had never felt these types of emotions before. This person always uplifted me, and for the first time in my life, I felt heard, and almost like I had a purpose again. He appreciated the extra lengths I went to, and always valued my opinions and thoughts. I don’t think he thoroughly understands the positive impact he had on my life...I felt I was stuck in this eternal deep, dark hole, and then he came along and lifted me up. Right as I felt I was destine for nothingness, he proclaimed I was only set out for greatness. I was overwhelmed with the support, as I hadn't been used to this type of treatment, but for the first time in my life, I had decided not to push away something good.

I treasured his kindness, pure intentions, and honesty, which is not common anymore. My admiration for him grew daily, as I continued to observe him and his intelligent ways. I wanted to be just like that. I wanted to not care, and to have the confidence in myself that he did. I wanted to be able to display the certainty of my work ethic and kindness being enough for myself. For the first time in my life, I had come to the realization that I sincerely looked up to and respected someone, and wanted them to join my journey in life. He motivated me to be able to express my emotions and thoughts openly without being afraid of disapproval or criticism.

I had eventually reached out, and expressed my thoughts and feelings to the one person in my life who I knew I could. I opened up and mentioned my self criticism, along with my unbearable, toxic, repressed habit of naturally wanting to please everyone. I then proceeded to ask him how I was supposed to please other people when I couldn’t even seem to please myself? He followed up asking me, "why do you want to please these other people? Why do you care what they think about you?"He not only showed me my value, but uttered the irrelevance of these other people's opinions. He opened my eyes to the sad reality that I would let someone ruin my day, yet I certainly wasn't ruining theirs. I had to look at things from a new perspective. He exposed how selfish and careless the world could be to givers, and opened my eyes to much realness in this dark, bitter place. My brain began to operate in new ways I never thought would be possible. Rather than me sitting trying to figure out what was wrong with me, he showed me to love myself, and take care of myself. Because guess what? I was also enlightened on the fact that if I didn’t take care of myself, nobody else would. People in my past had attempted to utter what to do or say in these situations, but it always seemed easier said than done. I think what truly differentiated this person from others, is that he not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. He visually and verbally demonstrated what to do, and how to handle these obstacles thrown my way, rather than just telling me what to do. He guided me, took me under his wing, and with him by my side, I had felt safety, security, and invincibility.

I finally hit a breaking point in my life. He inspired me to voice my internal opinions I had withheld for what felt like an eternity. Whether this was in my work environment, or my household, it was a very monumental moment for me. Some would refer to it as a “quiet outburst or explosion”. Essentially, I held everything in for so long, I burned myself out, and overcompensated for it.

I had no idea the feeling I was missing out on, and was oblivious to the fact that speaking up was in fact an option for me. I felt so free, I could feel the overbearing weight off my chest finally…and this was only the beginning. Once I started, the world couldn’t stop me. This infinitely changed who I was as a person, and my perspective in life positively. Rather than impulsively apologizing for who I was, I slowly began to learn how to process, and think things through. I learned that I can’t always be the hero, and that is okay. I used to put so much unnecessary pressure on myself, and he taught me to release that, and let go. I had to learn to say screw it, and choose my battles. Life seemed so difficult, when in reality, it turned out I was only working against myself without even realizing it. 

I remember the first time I finally spoke up for myself and exercised my rights. I was fulfilled with joy, and so proud. I wanted to express my gratitude. I went up to him, and I exclaimed, “thank you for that.” He proceeded to look at me in confusion. I immediately began to open up and explain the major growth he led me to develop in life. For that, I will infinitely show my gratitude, and endlessly say thank you. Each day when he asks me how I feel, I proceed to say for the first time in my life, that I am okay, and thank you for giving me that. Thank you for showing me a new light and pathway not only in my brain, but in life. Thank you for seeing me, hearing me, and choosing me. Thank you for helping me discover, and become the best version of myself. I will never be able to repay you for giving me not only confidence to love myself, but also giving me the backbone to speak up, and believe in my true qualities. I had finally realized that the feeble details in life I was stressing myself out about, simply did not matter. I never thought I would hit a point in my life where I would stop unintentionally devoting myself to pleasing others. Yet, here I am, finally taking care of myself for once. It feels so good to finally embrace my true self, and put my own needs first for once. Now, I can help others grow, and put others first, while also for the first time ever already being taken care of. Thank you for giving me that. Thank you for not letting me give up. And thank you, for not giving up on me.






December 04, 2022 20:45

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