I promise you: you won’t always be your best self. Neither am I.
I mean, most of the time, we’ll try. You know, to be easy going and good natured and patient and kind.
But…sometimes it’s just not gonna happen.
We’re gonna be tired. We’re gonna be sore. We’re gonna be cranky.
Sometimes we’re going to have limited emotional bandwidth due to something we’re dealing with.
Sometimes we’ll be exhausted from having to repeatedly rein in our impulses and cravings.
Sometimes we’ll be triggered by a person or situation, and before we know it we’ll be half down a rabbit hole of defensiveness or dissociation.
Sometimes we’ll be under the influence of a substance.
Any or all of these can contribute to us not being our “best self” for a moment or longer.
I don’t list all these things as excuses for us not being the coolest, kindest versions of ourselves. They’re just realistic factors that help explain why we’re reacting to the world as we are.
I know that I, personally, have been hard to like and hard to be close to sometimes.
I know my ADHD has made me flake out on my friends and be an unreliable coworker in the past. it’s a bummer.
I know my history of attachment trauma has made it difficult to be in romantic and sexual relationships with me.
I know my depression has, likely, made me a bit of a bummer to be around sometimes.
It can be really easy for us to take a look at our relationship struggles, many of which can stem from our personal history or our emotional challenges, and conclude that we’re just…broken. Unlikeable. Maybe even unlovable.
Here’s the thing, though: we don’t get to decide for other people whether we are likable or lovable.
And we definitely don’t get to define for the entire human species what defines a “worthwhile” person.
Many of us have been in the position of wondering why some of the people in our lives stick with us, even in what should be our most unlikable moments.
Sometimes we even get paranoid or skeptical about people who claim to be with us in the long haul— how can they POSSIBLY mean it, given that we are so frustrating to relate to?
What we can’t see, this close up to the equation, is that we are MORE than our struggles.
Even in relationships, we are MORE than even the very legitimate frustrations we can cause for our friends, partners, and colleagues.
Yes, there may be a subset of people whose closeness to us is determined by the proportion of positive to negative experiences they have with us. Yes, we’re going to lose some people along the way— though we need to keep in mind that even “normal” relationships with “normal” people are often fleeting and fragile for various reasons.
We need to remember that emotional struggles like depression and behavioral struggles like addiction loom INCREDIBLY large for us— sometimes they’re the only things that we can think about.
But others aren’t in our head. They’re not as suffocated by those struggles as we are.
Others can see what we bring to the table beyond our pain or our problems.
Others can see potential that we often can’t.
Make no mistake: not everyone is going to see us fairly, or accurately, or compassionately.
But because we happen to hate ourselves doesn’t mean everyone is required to hate us too.
Because we feel like giving up on ourselves doesn’t mean others are required to give up on us.
So we’re not our best selves sometimes. maybe even often. Welcome to being human.
We’re always responsible for our behavior. We can’t just blow it off and say, “eh, nobody’s perfect.”
But we have to be realistic: our feelings about ourselves are not facts— and they don’t have to be shared by anybody else.
Others get to love us, no matter how we feel about ourselves.
Others get to like us, no matter how we feel about ourselves.
And others get to value us, no matter how worthless we might feel.
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