Mirror, Mirror… | Friday Freewrite
If I say I love you, I have to show I love you.
What do you do when you realize the qualities you don’t like in someone else are the very same qualities you possess?
I learned a valuable lesson on Friday. I got annoyed with a friend for not clearly communicating with me. I felt taken advantage of, left in the dark, and disrespected. Mostly, I felt unable to say anything about how I was feeling. I know this friend is going through a hard time and I want to be supportive of them. But my immediate thought when I confronted them on Friday was that their personal struggles were no excuse for mistreating people who care about them. I wanted to say that even when you’re going through it, people deserve respect and care, especially if they’re trying to care for you.
And as I thought this I immediately felt guilty. Because I do the same thing when I’m going through a hard time.
The first thing I do is neglect my own needs. And once I’ve effectively fucked up my own life, I start to neglect the needs of others. When I’m in a low mental state, I isolate myself, cutting off communication with friends and loved ones. I let my responsibilities and commitments to work and to the people I love fall through the cracks with no explanation or apology.
While I know the people who love me will still love me through the difficult moments in my life, it doesn’t remove my responsibility to show them love back. And the best way I can show love is through care, respect, and communication. Even if it’s telling them, “Hey, I don’t think I have the capacity to talk for a while,” it’s better than just straight up ghosting them like I used to, Asking straight up for the help I need is better for everyone–me included!–than suffering silently and hoping someone takes the hint and tries to assist me. That’s an unkind expectation to put on others and it takes advantage of their love and devotion for me by expecting them to read my mind and be present without showing them the respect of proper communication.
I’m no longer mad at my friend. Not only did I share my feelings with her and get an apology, but I learned a valuable lesson myself. I’ve got to try a little harder to treat the people I love with respect instead of expecting them to just hang around while my own mental illness and life struggles lead me to mistreat them, their time, and their boundaries. Nobody’s perfect, I don’t expect myself or my friends who are going through things to get it right all the time. But if we love each other, we have to try to show love no matter what’s going on in our inner and outer worlds.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the spirit of the lessons in this entry, I think it’s important to point out the obvious fact that this Friday Freewrite was published on a Saturday. I failed to follow through on my commitment to my subscribers due to my own emotional struggles throughout the week. While I’m sure if you’re following this newsletter you understand how mental health seeps into all aspects of your life, I’m trying not to let this be a consistent excuse for me to shirk my responsibilities to myself and others. My sincerest apologies and I’ll do better next time with communicating and following through. Peace out! ✌🏾
Every Friday during the month of November, I’ll be sharing a bonus article about whatever’s on my mind, whatever current events are happening, or whatever I feel needs to be said. No theme, just vibes. If you’d like to see more creative writing from me, be sure to follow along with the Finding the Right Words November LOVE Challenge.
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