This is part two of a two-part series in which I tackle my journey in overcoming disappointments and discontentment, and learning how to be kind and patient with myself. I was inspired by an online friend who said those wise words during a trying time, and I was just beating myself up mentally, and I finally felt compelled to share my thoughts on that bit of wisdom thanks to a comment by startswithmyra — this is my reply to her.
Last time, we talked about how you are a work in progress, and how you are allowed to fail. Today, we tackle how you can ask for help, how you are allowed to be weak, and to rest.
You can ask for help
Fellow (over-)achievers and go-getters, raise your hands!
For the longest time, I did not know how to ask for help. Part of the reason was that my parents raised me to be self-motivated and independent – and those are good things! However, I have gotten to the point where I became self-absorbed, that when other people do not display that trait, I stomped off and willed myself to do things on my own. Self-absorption warped my beliefs and polluted my relationships. I did things without asking for help as I was too prideful and self-centered. I became bitter and angry when people do not help me out of their own volition when… I did not even ask for help in the first place! See the conundrum in that?
In all aspects of life, you are not alone. You can be solitary, you need your “me time”, and I can totally relate to that. But as I shed my pride and self-centeredness, the fact sank in in that I am not the center of the universe. I am human, and wherever I go, I deal with people – I have relationships. I have had to build the faith in that people are not out to sabotage me to see me fail. They have their struggles as I have mine, and I have found that having people around me to listen to me whine, to have a shoulder to cry on, to encourage me and to pray for me has helped me see through dark times.
There is no shame in asking for help. I for one can testify to this, as in learning how to put my pride aside and to ask for help, I have made more friends and strengthened our relationship in my family.
You are allowed to be weak
With bookstores and media constantly bombarding us how to be Better-Faster-Stronger, or how to bring your “A-Game” (whatever that means), it has become hard to recognize and accept our vulnerability. There is also the stigma over showing vulnerability and weakness, and so we are forced to put on a fake smile and pretend everything is okay. With this kind of mentality buzzing around society every day, it is easy to find ourselves emotionally and mentally drained and cornered. Isolation, especially if self-imposed, is a dangerous place to be.
Know this: it is okay to be weak. It is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to be not okay.
A friend has told me that they did not want to “rely” on others because they have their own burdens; but I have learned that positivity in numbers is a good thing to have. We are human, and we are limited. Or if you do not like that wording: we all, without exception, have our strengths and weaknesses. Relationships help fill in the gaps that we have, and people provide the support and encouragement we need when we run out.
It is okay to feel sad over something, to feel angry, to be upset; it is okay to disagree with someone; it is okay to dislike something; it is okay to doubt and to question; it is okay to be disappointed with yourself; why? Because you acknowledge what happened and you accept how you feel about it. Only from that point does healing and recovery begin, and once that has come to pass, you can conquer.
You are allowed to rest
It is not for nothing that our bodies become deadweight when we are exhausted. For seven years, I have burned the candle at both ends, and it only lead to physical and mental exhaustion (like suddenly dropping out of college seemed like a good idea; but all I did was do an absence without leave), and eventually, depression (me constantly thinking that everyone is just waiting for me to fail, and that I deserved none of the good things happening to me). I wanted to be perfect inside and out, when in reality, I was falling apart.
I had to face that, and accept that the best solution for me was to rest. To me, that meant turning off my phone and computer, properly sitting down for a meal and taking my time with it at my favorite restaurant, talking with a trusted friend or family member, just sitting down to listen to music – and just listen to it and appreciate it, as opposed to just having it in the background, and get lost in a book.
I offer this advice to friends, and I realize that it is only a lesson you learn when you find yourself falling apart: yes, it is worthwhile to invest in your dreams and your goals, but not at the expense of your well-being and your relationships. I understand that you love what you do, but do not forget to love yourself and your body.
It is known that plants do not thrive without sun and water, and an experiment has shown that speaking curses at them actually kills them. So why, when you far are more precious than plant life, would you allow yourself to be mentally, emotionally and physically beaten up by yourself? Life is a journey, and we are all bound to encounter our personal stumbling blocks. Our failures are not final sentences, but are turning points in which we grow in character.
I have gone through failures, and so I am able to write this.
As Filipinos, we are fond of bidding each other goodbye saying, “Ingat!” – “Take care!” I suppose it has become an offhand replacement for “goodbye”, but I do mean it when I say it. And so I say it to you, Reader, after that lengthy, motherly sermon:
Take care, and be patient with yourself.