I wish I valued myself more.
I really wish I put a higher value on my own comfort.
I know that I don’t. It’s not debatable, it’s simply regrettable fact.
So many relationships in my life have been wasted waiting for the other person to prioritize my comfort, fueled purely by the faith that they were a good person, and that’s what “good” people do.
Some were good people. Some weren’t. I was still uncomfortable.
This is unequivocally my own fault.
Even in the cases of “bad” people, those with ill intentions in my life, I can’t blame them fully. I should have walked away. I may have done it regretfully, but I like to think these days I’d walk away.
This doesn’t absolve them of their ill intentions, and cruel behaviors, mind you.
But I like to believe that I would walk away before I had to discover those.
Either way, bad intentions is not where I’ve spent the bulk of my discomfort. Good people get me every time.
This is why I say the problem is in myself. It is. It must be.
I believe in these people, guilt myself for putting them in a situation where they’ve made me (probably unknowingly) uncomfortable, and they’ll be upset if I told them they’d made me uncomfortable, and thus the cycle repeates.
I swear, timidity is my one true vice.
I’m addicted. It’s a crutch for so many terrible ways of thinking I keep holding on to. It feeds the depression I’m always fighting with, and is absolutely integral for so many for so many negative thought processes that leave me crippled.
I’m used to timidity. I’m used to discomfort. I cling to them.
I worry I’ll be alone if I don’t have them, that I’ll push away everyone I’m not timid to.
After all, doesn’t everything have downsides? What’s my little discomfort, if it keeps social interaction going and makes life easier?
That is a lie, if you couldn’t tell.
It’s never a little discomfort.
If you’re reading this and you’re like me, identifying with this and looking to change, well, I have bad news.
Because you don’t speak up, everyone, at some point, has made you uncomfortable.
You can’t cut ties with them all.
Cleaning this mess, this web of minor lies and omissions, is going to be much more difficult than continuing as you are. Techniques will need to vary. With a coworker or acquaintance, it will have to be a gentle “Hey, can you stop borrowing my pens? I’d rather have them at my desk” or perhaps “Can you not joke about that around me? I don’t agree”.
If it’s a good friend, explain. Complain about how you’ve been feeling, even if you’re down on yourself for it. Send them this verbatim, if you must. Let them follow your logic to the same conclusion, then tell them how they can help. It can be anything from changing a behavior of their own, to holding you accountable when you don’t speak up for yourself.
Keep in mind that results will vary. Calibrating what is an appropriate way to express yourself is always difficult, in the best of times. Some things won’t be changeable, and you’ll have to work with or around that. Some people will be hurt, or offended.
But trust me when I tell you, all good intentioned people have one thing going for them. You can stop and explain again. They want to understand you. If you misstep, explain and try again.
Time will tell you who doesn’t care for you. Who doesn’t prioritize you in their actions and just wants their own pleasure.
Kick those people out.
Trust me, the void will be filled by someone much, much better.
As long as you choose to value yourself.