So I’m going to be really honest, and say that I can be bothered really easily. Little things get to me, and if I’m in a disagreement with someone I really care about the stress will eat me up to the point of shaking, not being able to eat, and being sick to my stomach. The first few times this happened I figured I’d just deal with it, and push through the nauseating feeling I kept getting. Until I realised it was actually holding me back from properly functioning, and I wanted to live my time to the fullest, not be affected by these big or little things. I started on some research, because after hearing from my dad I had to learn to get over this and deciding it was time for myself, I wanted to get over it right this minute. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to just get over something right when you decide to so I found some steps I want to share with you.
Number one is, not complaining but staying positive. Complaining is natural for us humans and the easiest choice. Something goes wrong or isn’t exactly how we want it and we start complaining. However complaining is useless, it doesn’t change your situation and it only magnifies the problem. A few weeks ago my mum and I tried a challenge in which for 24 hours we would not be negative and complain, only being positive. We didn’t succeed, but it did show us that complaining is a habit we need to break. When you start paying attention to how negative you can be you realise there’s no room for that in your life.
Number two is find the root of your worry or anxiety. If someone isn’t talking to you and that stresses you, but why does it stress you? Is there an underlying issue that maybe needs to be sorted or taken care of? I found out through a situation I’m in right now that it’s deeper than what’s happening now. Sure what happens now sucks, but I’d be able to more realistically go about it if I had accepted things that have previously happened. Finding the root of the problem, and dealing with it, allows for growth and acceptance, as well as in the future better being able to deal with similar situations. I’ll be really honest and say I personally am not very good at that but I see the huge importance in it and that’s why now I must learn it.
Number three is choose forgiveness and compassion. Trust me I know how difficult it can be to have to be the understanding one, to hold your anger, swallow your pain and say that it’s alright. However one thing I’ve learned, is that it isn’t often worth it to express everything that was in my head. I’m not saying to suppress and ignore what you feel because that is real! It’s just not always worth the extra argument. I’ve had to swallow my pain before to make things right again with a friend and I believe it was worth it. The friendship was and is worth more than my need to say how they hurt me. This one is strongly tied in with number four, because there needs to be a balance between forgiveness/compassion and assertiveness.
Number four: Assertiveness. Although sometimes it is good and necessary to be forgiving and compassionate, assertiveness is equally important. It’s something I struggle the most with, why? because it goes hand in hand with self worth. How much self worth you have will (almost always) determine how assertive you are. Now look there’s another aspect to it which is how I grew up that causes me to not be assertive. As a third culture kid you learn to adapt to everything, you don’t have much of your own boundaries or opinions because when in Rome, do as the Romans do. We adapt to every situation rather easily and without question. I didn’t realise that until my professors started pointing these things out on how I sometimes stick out from other classmates in these things. I adapt and therefore don’t set boundaries. However I do have boundaries, and when people cross them I get hurt, upset and angry. Except I keep that all inside because I never found it worth getting angry at the person for and risking our friendship. Now I’ve learned that that is the wrong mindset to have. I’m allowed to say when people hurt me! I can get that anger and frustration out as long as it is controlled. Assertiveness to say what I need and what I think, I have the worth that it matters what I think and feel.
It was difficult to come to that standpoint, because it took a lot of refining. But the only way to stop getting hurt more was to learn to stand up for what I need. There’s no need to be afraid to set your boundaries, and express pain, and at the same time sometimes hold back. I figured my methods of learning to express my hurt and anger is writing and exercise. As well as sometimes just telling someone and saying that they hurt me and I need a change. Don’t be afraid to do so, you matter just as much as you think they do.