Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Miscellaneous thoughts (Part 11): Love and friendship edition

~ Some people will never give you what you want. "Expectations are the root of all heartache," a quote wisely spoken by William Shakespeare. You can always ask for what you want, but you still open yourself up to the possibility that you may not get it. You eventually come to realize that you can live without more attention, an apology, respect, adoration, or whatever it is you're longing to receive from someone else.

~ I once heard someone say that it takes courage to stand up for the love you really deserve. Courage. I had never thought about that word. I always thought it took self-awareness, self-respect, and self-love to do that (and it does). But yes, it also takes courage. A lot of people run full speed in the opposite direction when presented with the opportunity to actually be involved in something real. Being treated well feels so alien to them that they run back into the arms of the person who treats them like crap. Why? Because being treated like crap never really leads anywhere, and that feels safe to some people. They know they can come and go as they please and not have to face the responsibility of a real relationship. But you might be surprised by how much joy and fulfillment you can feel by giving the person who adores and respects you a chance.

~ Grief doesn't have an expiration date. Don't listen to people who tell you to "move on" when you're hurting. You might even randomly start hurting months or years after you thought you'd moved on for good. Pain needs to be felt, so just feel it.

~ Holding grudges poisons your soul and gives you back problems (for real). Let go. Forgive. Choose love.

~ Trust your instincts about people. If you have a bad feeling, stay away. If you have a good feeling, freaking go for it.

~ Leave the past in the past. Don't stalk your exes on Facebook to "see how they're doing." Don't badmouth someone who did something that pissed you off three years ago. Look at who you have standing right in front of you. Appreciate the present.

~ I like the idea of keeping your private life private. Don't give people too much to formulate an opinion on. Your relationship is yours and yours alone. Gossiping about your partner and giving away too many details takes the magic out of "you and me" and turns it into "you, me, and everyone else."

~ Feelings of inadequacy are normal in a relationship, but they don't actually mean that you're inadequate. Challenge your insecurities, and pull them up by their roots.

~ When you feel torn over whether or not to trust your head or your heart, consider trusting both. The voice of reason and the voice of desire can both teach us something.

~ Thoughtfulness really does count. Do thoughtful things for the people you love, and remember to give what you hope to receive. (I'm still working on this one.)

~ Love is so much more than the words you say. Love can be spoken through a long hug, a kiss on the hand, a smile, a greeting card, a random act of kindness---The list goes on and on.

~ It's okay to feel like half of a whole when you're separated from a loved one. Popular wisdom suggests that you don't need anyone and that you should feel whole right by yourself, but I somewhat disagree. It is normal human behavior to need a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, and a person to help you feel like more of who you are by simply being by your side. Needing someone doesn't make you crazy. We are born with the instinct and desire to mate with others and form emotional attachments.  

~ Sometimes people will do and say things that make you angry and then manipulate you into thinking that you have no right to be. They will make you feel as though you should be happy for them, or that you should mind your own business, or that you should get over yourself, etc. But here's the thing: If you're angry, it's for a reason. There's always a root. You can either find the root and solve the conflict or choose to no longer associate with the people who make you angry.    

~ Good friends are super hard to come by. Good friends that actually stick around over a long-term period of time are even harder. If you have someone in your life who makes an effort, cares about your well-being and happiness, doesn't talk shit behind your back, knows you better than you know yourself, and makes you feel like you can do and be anything, you have a damn good friend. Treat them like royalty because genuine, loyal friends deserve a gold medal.

~ Some people say that choosing to be single for an extended period of time is like a spiritual awakening. They take the time to learn how to love and care for themselves before they love and care for somebody else. Embrace the joys of being single until someone worth giving that up for comes along.

<3 Madison

Monday, April 7, 2014

Once young, always young

I was emailing back and forth with one of my reader friends over the weekend when he said something that really jumped out at me.

"Once young, always young."

We were talking about the weirdness and swiftness of getting older (I just turned 22, he just turned 23), and I asked him if he felt like an adult yet. I expected him to say something like, "Of course! I mean, I'm 23. It's about time I start feeling like an adult. Don't you??"

I guess I have this weird assumption that everyone on the face of the planet that is past the age of 21 (except me) feels and acts like a fully functioning adult...Silly, silly me.

Being young and being taken care of is what we know from the moment we're thrust into the world. We're born with the instinct to rely on people and screw up and be vulnerable/innocent. Growing up is probably the hardest transition anyone can make (even for the people who make it look easy).

We are going to learn, re-learn, and make the same mistakes over and over again. We are going to want people to hold our hands, reassure us, and take care of us when we're sick, sad or confused. We are going to call our mothers and grandmothers for cooking advice and rant and complain about things we "should" be able to handle on our own. We are going to experience feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, fear and loneliness. We are going to get excited about ice cream and Disneyland and old Nickelodeon cartoons. We are going to forget how to spell "necessarily." We are going to Google the difference between a mutual fund, a bond, and a stock investment.

I'm starting to think that none of us ever really "grow up." Growing up is equivalent to aging (obviously). It continues to happen whether we like it or not, and it never stops. We age and age until we die. Just like we're never done aging, we're never done growing up. I continually make the mistake of thinking that being a grown-up is a destination I have to reach by a certain age. It's not. There are people in their 50s and 60s that struggle with the exact same things I do.

We may grow, change and transform over the years, but we're still essentially the same person we came into the world as. Maybe we're all little kids on the inside---little kids longing for love, attention, guidance and stability.

And I suppose growing up doesn't mean you have to be a grown-up.

<3 Madison  


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Feeling like a victim

I have a habit of feeling like a victim of my life circumstances, whether big or small. I always hear about how you should take responsibility for everything that happens to you, and while that can be insightful advice at times, I must say that sometimes it makes me pretty grumpy.

I prefer a slightly different approach to feelings of failure or victimization.

Get angry.
Be hurt.
Eat Zebra cakes.
Think about giving up.
Decide to keep going.

Rinse and repeat with each sucky situation in life.

It is true that while we can't control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to it. But that doesn't mean that we should plaster on a "happy trooper" face when we actually feel like spitting in a belligerent person's juice or posting a lengthy, annoyed rant on Facebook (and I advise against actually doing either of those things, but it's okay to feel like it sometimes).

Life isn't fair. People will rip you off, employers will change their minds, friends will leave, mother nature will shit storm on your plans, strangers will judge you, people with seemingly less talent will succeed more than you...The list goes on.

It's okay to feel like a victim sometimes. It's okay to get upset when life takes a hard and unexpected left. It's okay to feel like throwing in the towel twelve times a day.

I guess I'm just tired of feeling bad about feeling bad.

<3 Madison