Dear heart-filled beings,
At first, I decided that the title of this post would be Eleanore Vs. The Fragile Heart. I clicked out the title and was then left to stare at the blank page in front of me unsure of where to go next. As any good writer would do in that situation, I procrastinated by scrolling up and down Facebook, when suddenly a little video caught my eye. As I watched I was awe-inspired; it was as if my friend who posted it had literally read my mind. The video was entitled “Nice Guys finish First” by Xandria Ooi. (Link to the video below!) She affirmed everything that I had wanted to write about. All at once my writer’s block turned into a storm of emotion and I began to ferociously type, expelling the storm through my fingers.
As I say in most of my posts, the past year, the last month especially, has been unbearably difficult. A great deal of negative and positive things have happened to me, and through it all I have felt many different versions of pain. I have gotten physically hurt, I have been given new diagnoses and I have been insulted, abandoned and heartbroken by many people who I loved deeply. That last part often hurts worse than my physical illnesses. Considering how much I suffer physically, that’s really saying something.
I have always known that I am a transparent, emotional, and sensitive person. I am empathetic and compassionate (nearly to a detriment as my friend once said) and I try to use those abilities to improve the lives of both myself and those I connect with. While this all sounds very rainbows and dolphins, it isn’t. I know that being this emotionally involved in my existence comes at a great risk, and that it often leads me to emotional distress.
Here’s a handy list of phrases I have been told by others in regards to what’s wrong with me:
- You just need to stop being so damn sensitive!
- You just need to grow a thicker skin!
- You need to be more careful what you tell people!
- You can’t trust anyone but yourself!
- Everyone is out to get you because people only care about themselves!
- I’m not responsible for your emotions!
- YOU ARE JUST TOO NICE TOO PEOPLE!
Good thing it’s just about Halloween because that list has my skin crawling. Since I was young I have been caught in a seriously unhealthy cycle. An event would happen that would be emotionally painful. Whether it was something I had done or an action of a friend, boyfriend, family member or other, something would get me to a point where I would feel frustrated and heartbroken, and when I would express how I felt, I’d be met with at least two of the responses from the list above, then left to ponder life in solitude. I’d promptly resolve to “harden myself,” never trust anyone again, and stop being “too nice” to people in order to save myself from the heartache I have grown weary of. Sounds fool proof, right? It was! Over time, I completely succeeded in hardening myself to the world, and I am now invincible. The end.
Haha. Just kidding!
This plan never, ever, EVER worked. I would try to bite my tongue and let things go, which is code for suppressing everything in the deepest, darkest part of my soul until I erupted. I would ultimately end up more upset, more frustrated, and significantly less happy that I had been before.
There is so much people seem to not understand about those of us who are naturally empathetic and emotionally involved in everything we do. The first and biggest being that WE CAN’T FUCKING HELP IT! Everyone needs to understand that personalities vary greatly. There is a wide spectrum riddled with complications and combinations that define who we are, how we influence the world as well as how we are influenced by it. While naturally there’s the case of Nature Vs. Nurture and every personality being a mix of both, I truly do believe that the way we express and interpret emotions is largely a natural part of us that we’re just stuck with. Just as you cannot demand someone be “less gay”, “less black” or “less depressed” (all things I have heard said to others, I shit you not), you can’t simply force a person to be “less emotional”. You can force them to not show it as my family had done to me, but I never changed; I only quieted.
There’s also the idea that people who are too open or too nice are that way due to naivety. While I don’t speak for all of the soft hearted people in the world, for me personally, the reason I am myself is because I have been relentlessly abused and neglected. When you are raised with such unfortunate circumstances, there are only two ways to live your life. You either fall into the vicious cycle and end up like your abusers only to carry on the misery to others, or you put all the might you can muster into being as opposite as possible. Every day I wake up and chose the latter, even when it seems nearly impossible. While once in a while my compassion does get me into awful situations, at worst, I take it as a lesson to be more careful next time.
As Xandria explains in her video, you can be nice, compassionate, and empathetic while still being smart in making yourself a priority. While we may not be able to control what people do to us, we can control how we react and how we learn from it. As she goes on to explain, and what I can’t possibly express enough, closing your heart off not only makes it so that you aren’t being your true self, but also makes it so that you aren’t just closed off from negative experiences, but from positive ones as well. My heart has been broken countless times because of how open I am, but I have also made incredible relationships, have become the most genuine version of myself, and of course, started this blog which is now one of my very favorite pieces of my life. We can’t force ourselves to be less than who we are. While I don’t at all agree that pain and suffering always teaches us lessons or happens to us for a positive reason, I do believe that we can still have beautiful lives in spite of it.
After pondering and writing, I’ve decided that kindness and compassion are not flaws, and while my soft heart is indeed easily affected and fragile, it’s also magical in what it has led me to do and resilient in carrying me through my pain. I’m not going to shame anyone, especially myself, for trying to spread compassion in an often ugly world. If anything, we deserve celebration for all the times we have been crippled by emotional and/or physical pain, yet still strive to move forward. We may give up momentarily, but it is never for long, and I hope it never will be.
In other news, as I wrote in my last post I am really struggling to survive right now. So, I am selling most of my things. Please consider purchasing (and convincing others) to help me pay for rent, gas, and my medical bills that are currently adding up to the height of Mt. Doom itself.
There is a saying, follow your heart…but don’t forget to take your brain with you!
~Xandria Ooi – Nice Guys Finish First (I can’t seem to link the video but it’s the very first one on her page!)