Last night I had the oddest set of dreams. They came one after another. I’d fall into the deepest hardest sleep and end up in a portal. Then, I was sprung back into reality. Rejecting the disturbing thoughts that were taking over my mind.
Toward the end, I was wandering around with an old friend. We went shopping and then attempted to walk through melting snow positioned over a lake. Neither of us fell in, but we continued to slide further down the ice until I woke up.
I thought it was interesting that I dreamed of her because I’ve been struggling to understand my relationship with this friend for a while. We’ve known each other since Middle School but, as adults, we have little in common. I try to keep the relationship going because people say you should prize your childhood friends but something about it feels forced.
So many of the people around me find it easy to maintain relationships with their old friends. I wonder why it’s such a struggle for me. Maybe I get bored easily and evolve too quickly but my first instinct is to cut off what no longer serves me. What is the point of keeping people around if they no longer fit into your life?
I guess it’s possible that you could cut off so many people that you finally end up totally alone, but I find that hard to believe. Something tells me that if I keep growing, I will continue to find new people. It’s no different than relationships. You wouldn’t keep dating a person that started to bore you. So why do we cling to friendships that our minds have clearly moved on from? Is it a matter of loyalty or hope that we will eventually reconnect?
After years of avoiding the gym, I finally decided to give in. It wasn’t because of vanity or boredom. My motivation was purely my health. I tend to overthink things and my mind was starting to make me believe I was destined to get diabetes or high blood pressure if I didn’t become more active. There’s no way I could ever know this for sure, but it made me paranoid enough to get off the couch.
So I called up my local gym and found out how I could start an incredibly over-priced relationship with them. I put on the yoga outfit I bought two years ago, grabbed my sneakers, and went before I could talk myself out of it.
The first workout was easier than I expected considering how out of shape I was. I continued going for the next four days because I didn’t want to lose the momentum, but I never anticipated the stress release that cardio would give me. As soon as my legs start moving on that elliptical machine, my worries dissipate. My fears and anger are flushed out. Anxiety disappears and I’m left with a clarity that helps me finish my day.
For years, I’ve heard people say exercise is a great way to control depression and anxiety, but I never wanted to believe that. It sounded like a gross attempt to downplay mental illness, but I’m finding that it actually does work. I’m no scientist, but it makes sense that the release of the endorphins while running would overpower your mind’s impression of pain. I end up with a short-lived high that’s just enough to help me sleep at night.
Cardio obviously can’t cure depression or anxiety but, for the past month, it has been helping me manage my mood swings. I can’t leave meetings and run to the gym, but I do know that when the day is over I have an activity that will rebalance me. That alone gives me some peace of mind. I found something that can make me stronger mentally and physically at the same time. That kind of power is priceless.
My entire life I felt empty, and I never understood why I couldn’t fill up that hole. I tried tirelessly to love people who I thought could love me. People who could give me the affection that I deserved. In my mind, if I could get enough people to love me, it would make me feel good all the time.
This worked temporarily. I felt immensely loved by my family, friends, and partners–until they didn’t have time. When they were busy with their own lives and couldn’t give me the attention that I wanted, I went back to feeling like a neglected child. The insecurities would flood into my head and slowly break down my spirit. I’d get depressed and things would slowly spin out of control.
I thought I needed other people to love me in order to feel happy. Recently, I discovered the flaw in my thinking. Placing my need for love on other people was a huge mistake because no person could ever live up to that expectation. There isn’t a person in this world that can be available to you every time you need them and they shouldn’t have to be. That’s not what these relationships are for. Yes, they’re there to offer support, but nobody needs to be your leaning post.
The only thing that could fill the holes inside me was love, and it needed to come from myself. I had to learn how to look in the mirror and see beauty; look at my problems and say they’d be alright. That was the only way I would ever be a whole person. So each time I started to feel insecure, I’d talk myself out of it. The effects were immediate. I felt happier and sure of myself. One incident couldn’t ruin my entire day and I didn’t have to wait until seven o’clock to get a hug. I’d found a way to hug myself from within.
It probably took me far too long to learn this, but I’m very grateful it finally happened. Self-love is an ongoing process. I still fall down and have to pick myself back up. Yes, it would be nice to have a partner there to scoop me, but it’s more important to be able to take care of myself whether they’re present or not.
I don’t go out much, but recently I’ve been going to a lot of events. At first, I was really nervous, but as I got more comfortable I started to notice things. Like how my friends were spending more time on their phones than actually interacting with each other. It was interesting to see because these were not boring events. These were comedy shows, broadway musicals, concerts, etc. Events where you’re expected to interact.
I’m a shy person, but if I go to a concert, I’m going to dance and have a good time. Each time I looked to my left, I saw my friends snapping photos and recording videos. I was perplexed. Had they just paid $150 per person to stand in a stadium and take pictures?
Don’t get me wrong. I love and appreciate art in all forms. It’s inspiring in so many ways, but, unless you’re a photographer, why are you recording an entire concert? After I got home, I got my answer. They wanted to upload the images to social media.
I got to thinking about the motivation behind this. Were they posting these videos to show everyone a piece of a show they may never see? Is this the way they chronicle their personal memories? Or were they posting in an to effort to invoke jealousy? To let other people know that they were there.
Something tells me it had more to do with proving something to other people than anything. It’s like some people need everyone to know they’re great. They need people to see that they’re out with their friends enjoying a show that they can’t even enjoy because they’re on their phones recording it the whole time.
When did we start needing so much validation; And at what point does it stop?