The holidays are upon us. Usually, this is a festive time when people are looking forward to spending time with their loved ones. Often, this leads to traveling to see people you haven’t seen in a while. And, of course, presents.
This year it is not so festive. Many families are suffering, worried, broke and tired. It’s been heartbreaking watching people lose their businesses, savings and relationships. Mentally, many have a hard time social distancing. They need to be around people. The inability to do so is wearing on them mentally. I would be remiss if I did not mention how the government handled things, especially this year, is mentally draining. Many people are, understandably, in a negative headspace right now. It reminds me of the video Head & Heart.
Visually, Head & Heart shows what it is like to live with negative thoughts. When their anger, frustration, or fear dominates their thoughts. For example, I’m sure we all know someone who has gone through a bad breakup. A positive-minded person, while hurt, will look back and understand why the relationship didn’t work. Once they know that, their focus is on what’s next. A negative-minded person will be stuck on the loss of the relationship. Their focus is on trying to get the person back or the pain they are feeling.
I used to be in a daily negative headspace over my father, who had Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I didn’t handle the decisions he made well because no one told me he had NPD. My parents were long deceased by the time I found out many truths. On the outside, I looked like the guy on the right. On the inside, I was like the guy on the left.
I had a dream similar to the scene in Head & Heart. My negative self encountered my positive self. My negative self was focused on my anger and almost missed seeing my positive self, wearing an F-You shirt. In the dream, I knew the positive person was me, but I was confused on why “that me” was so happy. My positive self smiled and ran towards a door, looked back and said, “Come on!”. My negative self, not wanting to be bothered, snatched open the door and was stunned by what I saw.
Behind one glass door, I saw my negative self taking on my father’s lies, leading to dumb decisions that led to more pain. The other glass door my positive self was giving the finger to people, refusing to make her father’s problems her problems. For example, when people didn’t believe me when I said I overheard Dad talking taking about his secret child, my negative self took it personally. My father was calling me a liar. How can people think badly of me? My positive self, knowing the truth, said fuck you to everyone who doubted her and lived her truth. I saw how different opportunities presented themselves based on the perception I had. My negative self attracted narcissists because I didn’t have strong boundaries in place. My positive self attracted more stable people because she had strong boundaries in place. Negative self would reject great ideas because she lived in anger and fear. Positive self leaped at ideas with excitement because she didn’t allow anyone to destroy her confidence.
When I woke up, I knew it was time to change.
There Is A Way Out
One hard learned lesson I finally accepted: during tough times, there is a way out. In my experience, when doors close there are others that open. My problem was that while I focused on the closed doors, I missed the open doors. For example, I was frustrated with my father’s lies. Instead of accepting I had no control over the situation and removing people and things that did not resonate with me, I distanced myself from people and ripped my soul apart thinking about how others perceived a fake me based on my father’s lies. It got to a point I wouldn’t say anything unless I could prove it 10 different ways. My confidence was shattered. The truth? I had so many good ideas that I never implemented because I allowed myself to think negative thoughts.
With the stimulus check drama going on right now, I was reading comments on Twitter. So many people are suffering. They are unable to work, worried about bills, quarantined with someone toxic and struggling to keep their family together. So many situations that are understandably mentally draining. As I was reading the comments, I wished I could show them the way out. All the situations are unique but to resolve a problem, the focus has to be on moving away from dwelling on the problem to finding a solution. Looking at all the doors of opportunity to evaluate which one is the best path. Maybe, instead of looking for a job, it’s time to start a business or a side hustle. Maybe there is grant money available to help with bills. Even if it means moving back with parents or downsizing from a house to an apartment, it’s long overdue for the toxic relationship to end. There are many options. It is easy to miss them when one is focused on the problem more than the solution.
The seeds you plant today to resolve the problem helps ensure you have a happier and stress-free future.