It’s so amusing when we look at ourselves through the eyes of another. No matter how we see ourselves, there will always be someone who sees us completely different from how we view ourselves. Some people see themselves as worthless when those around them see some one worthy of all that is good, Some see themselves as fantastic while those around them see an obnoxious twat. Personally, I speak from a bottomless pit of depression, anxiety and the thin sliver of sunshine that optimistic nihilism brings me. So when I think about myself upon reflection, I filter my self-thoughts through that strange murky lens. When I ask my friends for feedback on me as a person however, they respond with words I never would have associated myself with.
I understand why people do it. Friends, family, co workers – they’re people in your life who believe in you. That’s lovely. It really is a nice thing to have people care about you. But as someone with depression and anxiety – it starts to feel like pressure. Pressure I can never live up to. It sets a personal expectation that I can’t be flawed – or at the least, it feels that way – which, as I’ve stated previously, has a lot to do with my sudden decline in mental health. While thankfully that is starting to clear up a little – a post for another day – it still throws me off guard when someone says something nice. Even when I’m in a better head space, I still feel like I have to continue to be that level of “amazing” or “beautiful” to keep the person content. I feel like I owe it to the people around me to maintain that stamina and strength to meet the expectation they’ve unknowingly just put on me. Maybe I’m use to hearing I’m worthless or less-than-expected from bad bosses, manipulative partners, and other people who were toxic in the past. Maybe the recoil when someone compliments my appearance or intelligence is self-taught behaviour. Maybe I don’t trust them and think they want something in return. Maybe I just simply don’t like myself as much as I think I do.
As I write this though, I am boundlessly aware that I do this to other people too. I love Love, and I love encouraging the people around me. I try very hard to give people “good vibes” and send as much good juju out to the world as an attempt to mask or potentially alter my constant state of waiting for the world to end (melodramatic, I know, but that tends to be my schtick). As most of my online dating profiles use to say; “I’m a walking contradiction and I’m aware of my hypocrisies”*. Again, I think it ties back to my filtration lens. I see myself as none of the nice things. I’m just a shitty person trying to make life and the world a little less shitty for other people. Where I am deeply flawed with not much good in me, I view my friends as fantastic humans with so many good qualities and the occasional flaw that I ignore because I love them.
Logically, I know this is how life works (for the most part). I know that the people around me don’t always think good things about me. I can be a bit of a dick sometimes without meaning to be. I can say logical things when emotional intelligence should be applied. Sometimes I speak my mind regarding core beliefs and the other person gets upset because it goes against their core beliefs. And I guess that’s part of being human. But I still don’t get it. Humanity is weird. We’re all weird and human interaction is a crazy thing. But it is fascinating. I’ve lost my train of thought. Where was I going with this…?
Right. Complimenting each other.
It’s a beautiful thing with a lovely intent. I know when I compliment someone I genuinely mean it; Otherwise I keep my mouth shut and don’t say anything. That said, I know sometimes people do it for attention to be thrown back on them. A compliment for a compliment. I personally view that as someone who is desperately seeking to be loved and reaffirmed that they matter; And that breaks my heart. I try so hard to reaffirm people on a daily basis. Be it text a friend I havent spoken to in a long time, or ask a mate I know who is struggling how they’re going. Sometimes I nail it. Sometimes I fail spectacularly. Every one around you in your day-to-day life is living amazing and vibrant lives and feeling and thinking strange and crazy things about themselves**. They deserve to have a little kindness shown. I firmly believe everyone deserves to be reminded that they are loved, they are noticed, and they matter. I just need to get use to the idea that I am apart of everyone.
Stay silly my friends, and love yourself xx
*Every time I say that out loud or read it I feel like it should be part of a song. I should get on that…
** The word for that realisation, by the way, is ‘Sonder’.