Earlier this week, I got an early morning facetime from a friend. He was venting about someone who has been in his life for years who was causing him unneeded stress in his life. Their history together seemed to be more of a burden than it was a benefit to his life. It was apparent from his vent that he was starting to feel the same way but felt obligated to continue on the relationship/friendship due to emotional attachment. How many of us have a toxic family member or friend in our lives whose position in your life seems to cause more anguish than fulfillment. No matter the type of “ship”, whether it be a relationship, situationship, friendship, kinship, etc., the ship should be traveling somewhere, not remaining stagnant in the middle of the sea. Over the years, I have had to question many of the relationships I have in my own life. There was once a time when I knew so many people and so many people knew me, but I had not realized that popularity did not equate to fulfillment in my life. See the thing is, people knew me physically but mentally, I was alone. I only had a handful of people that if I was in need would stop what they were doing for me, even though I was constantly surrounded by so called “friends”. In the background no one knew about my issues with alcohol, my emotional binges, my closet breakdowns, or personal traumas that were haunting me in my sleep. They heard me joke about being stressed but didn’t realize I was slowly losing my hair and eating to balance out all the drinking. I was hiding empty liquor bottles in my dresser drawers and sometimes crying until I fell asleep. I hid a ton of emotions for years and even my handful of chosen few were often in the dark.
Fast forward a few years, becoming a parent brought me even more stress. I didn’t like how I looked, I was self-conscious about being a good mother, I was eating just to eat, and I had isolated myself from the rest of the world because I thought that parents who pawned their kids off on their parents for some free time were running away from responsibility. Again, I was keeping everyone in the dark. While I am not a believer that everyone and their mother should be in your business, I do believe that having a strong dependable circle can have the most positive impact. My circle can be counted on less than two hands. I have never been a very trusting person and my past social behaviors would never had made you guess, I don’t really like being around a ton of people. I am extremely introverted. I have always been weary of meeting new people and those in my circle have often joked me about being “closed off”. What I failed to realize was that my being “closed off”, wasn’t necessarily a good thing. What I thought was me being private was really just me internalizing my feelings and allowing them to eat away at me. Here I was again two years later, unhappy with my weight gain, constantly complaining about it, but doing nothing about it, and then feeling horrible about my looks. When I finally decided to open up about my weight, minus the sarcasm, it was those in my circle who said, “we are going to do this together”. They came up with challenges for us to do, gym schedules, and pushed me even when I tried to make excuses to get out of gym sessions. They offered me encouragement through words such as, “I’m proud of you” and “We can do this”. They checked me about how I currently looked and reassured me that there was nothing wrong with me.
See this is just one example of how having the right people in your life makes the difference. I have two males and eight females in my life who keep me constantly in check. When I want to give up, they are kicking me in the ass to tell me to keep going. When I am afraid to take a risk, they tell me to do it anyway. When I am procrastinating on an assignment, they are telling me to keep going, no matter how tired. When I am beating myself up, they are reminding me of how much I have to be blessed about and proud of. Do not get me wrong, these are things that you should naturally do for yourself on a daily, but we all could use a little push every now and again and having the right circle can provide that. You do not want people in your life who bring you more pain than joy or tears than smiles. A true circle is filled with people who not only receive your love and light but return that same love and light back to you. They should pull you out of the fire instead of dragging you back down into it.
Have you re-examined your circle going into the new year?
Wishing you all peace, love, light, and happiness in all of 2021
Categories: mental health