There are so many self care or self-help books out there that operate under the guise of improving us. Of elevating our identity and crystallising into something more ideologically secure, consistent and productive. There are so many means of approaching ways to improve our emotional wellbeing, mental health, physical fitness, and overall social prospects. It can get super overwhelming. You aren’t alone in thinking that. Particularly when entering the office of your guidance counsellor in high school when the walls were pasted top to bottom with naff inspirational posters and placards. ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’. Or ‘things that are hard are worth fighting for’.
The old faithful: ‘Life isn’t a competition’.
Honestly, I’m sure all of these epithets are true, but that’s not to say that there isn’t more informative, helpful advice out there. Like, there’s a reason the clichés exist – because they’re solid – but I can do better.
So I ask you, my implied audience, a question. What’s gold dust?
The art of not caring.
We all operate on our own personal timetable. We have our own standards and goals. Other peoples’ are irrelevant. You can appreciate and applaud them. Just don’t constantly compare yourself to them!
So stop what you’re doing.
Unfollow those celebrities on Instagram. They don’t care about you and if you’re honest with yourself you can’t remember the last time you even liked their picture. Stop being a voyeur on other people’s lives at the expense of living your own.
Take breaks from social media. Go on a walk. Listen to music. Join a yoga class. Learn a new language. Take up an online course.
There’s a few facts in life that generally see you through whatever it is that you’re going through. These facts of life begin and end with a Mumford and Sons song. There’s one called ‘Guiding Light’ that’s absolutely great. If that’s too on the nose for you, then I can also offer another foray into the back alley roster, ‘Woman’. Failing all of that, then you really can’t go wrong with ‘I will wait’ or the rip roaring ‘Little Lion Man’. I’m forgetting quite how many pure, unadulterated bops they have. Wow. Good for them.
Anyway, case and point. Every now and then we get stumped.
Life gets a little bit of a lot. Work is tough, the family is stressful. Money is hard and always will be. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, nor would it be helpful to. Sometimes is often most times, occasionally, sometimes ‘sometimes’ is only ever once. When we feel so low that we forget we’re still actually falling. Or worse still, when we forget that we aren’t falling anymore. That’s always an intensely loaded moment because how can you program from that? When, now that you’ve bracingly or passively endure something for so long, something different is expected of you. It’s not wrong to have become acclimatized to that force. For it to be so at once oppressive, and yet alienating and comforting. A known force. A presence. While I say that there’s nothing unusual about that, it doesn’t necessarily stand to reason that it’s a healthy long-term practice.
Sometimes we need to be picked up off the floor. Occasionally, we help other people off the floor. I’d certainly hope so. Often, we may even know exactly what we’re doing as we fall to the floor. Some ways we may not stray too far from the self destruct button. Other days you will forget it exists to trigger you. The issue with sometimes and most days is that there is the negative flip side of the ‘those days’ which can often engulf any sense of progress you’ve made before.
It happens. Trust me.
But yes, you find yourself repeating a cycle you’ve trod many times before. It’s nearly muscle memory now, as you seat on the linoleum floor of the pub in town. You’re pretty sure you came with friends but they can’t find you at the moment, impressive, considering how much noise you’re making. In all regards, your mascara and your emotions are running. One impinge slightly more upon the visual aspect of what the people in the cubicles can see of you. That’s a thought for another day, though. Because look over there, what vision do you see before you? What light doth through a window breaks?
Therefore, you shouldn’t rush into a relationship and delude yourself into thinking that everything is rose-tinted and perfect if it isn’t. you are worth more than you give yourself credit for. There is an eternally relevant quote from The Perks of Being a Wallflower that we accept the love we think we deserve. Damning, but not incorrect.
Think about that for a moment. And don’t settle.
There is always a pressure to conform to some invisible social timeline. When to have sex for the first time, or move in together. Or when to get married or have kids. Don’t listen to the nonsense around you. Think about what you want. it’s okay to not want any of that! Friends can be soul mates platonically just as much as lovers can be.