I think I may suffer from Cardiomegaly. Not in the physical sense, but definitely emotionally. For those of you who may not have wikipedia nearby, Cardiomegaly is when the heart is enlarged and it can be caused by a variety of different things including tumors, anemia, and cocaine use. I think my heart may actually be too big and that realization is coming to me slowly but pretty surely. I’m the kind of person who will go above and beyond the call of duty for someone that is close to me. While I’ve gotten better with sticking to boundaries, I still will bend over backwards to help someone I consider part of my family (immediate, close, or adopted). Now this is actually a good thing. I can be counted on and I’m loyal to a fault. HOWEVER, the bad part about this is that if I legitimately care about someone. I’ll still be inconvenienced and sacrifice enormously despite the fact that they 1. Don’t care about me back 2. Don’t know that I’m actually being inconvenienced and 3. Have not given me ANY indication that they’re about to care about me. As a therapist, one of the things that I talk about all the time with my clients is the importance of sticking to your boundaries and being with people that appreciate you. I first noticed this enlarged heart condition when I was a little kid and I could empathize with people and cry when someone started crying just because I was sad that they were sad. To this day, I still occasionally do that. It’s a good thing to care about people and to be genuinely interested in their welfare. But it’s another thing to care to the point that it’s at your own personal expense and the other person remains oblivious to your caring. This has happened to me more times than I would care to count. But, it’s something that I am actually aware of and despite the fact that caring too much continually screws me over, I’ve gotten used to it. It’s painful and involves a lot of emotions but it’s who I am. It’s uncomfortable and almost always inconvenient but it’s familiar. So many people talk about how they want their hearts to soften but I could probably benefit from a little hardening. As someone told me this week, “caring a lot about other people can be both a blessing and a curse.” And who knows, maybe caring too much will one day work in my favor instead of working against me.
One thing that struck me today was the importance of knowing your audience. This proves true in so many situations. We can all think of a teacher or someone in a leadership position that pretty much sucked at their job because they did not know how to effectively communicate their ideas and thoughts to their audience. Personally, I hate being in these type of situations because I feel like I’m at the mercy of the speaker and that while they may have knowledge that is applicable to my life, they lack the ability to convey it to me and their audience. The same proves true with people who may not be in a leadership capacity. Even when talking to friends it’s important to think about how someone will take what you say. Some people need a straightforward approach while others respond better when the words are gently padded. It’s all about knowing the audience that you’re speaking to. No one would speak to a group of five year olds in the same way that they spoke to a group of people in their 30’s. Each group is different and the speaker’s approach should be tailored to the needs of the group. There’s no reason for a “one size fits all” approach when dealing with people. People don’t want to be talked down to. They want to listen to someone who can empathize with their current situation and communicate ideas in a way that helps them. Otherwise, they’ll just get bored and tune out.
I think that many times we settle for the company of people who aren’t good for us because we don’t want to be alone. Humans are social creatures and we get used to having other people around us. Singles are told that they are just half a person walking around until they find their “better half.” But what happens when you are the “better half” of a friendship or a relationship? What happens when you wake up one morning and discover that you’ve sold yourself short in the friendship/relationship? Do you decide to put some distance between you and the other person? Or do you decide to push through and continue on? Many times people don’t give up relationships or friendships because they’ve grown accustomed to the dysfunction that they bring to their lives. We all have a little crazy in us right? But the point is that at the end of the day, you don’t want to be weighed down by people who are only in your life because you’re lonely. Sometimes being alone isn’t a bad thing if it’s for a reason. The quality over quantity perspective should always apply to friendships and relationships. After all, it’s better to have a few real friends than thousands of fake ones.
Lately I’ve had some of THE absolute most ironic moments of my adult life. They come when I least expect it and I’m usually super surprised and taken aback. One of the reasons why I love ironic moments because it’s an opportunity to laugh instead of get upset at something that is out of my control. Being a control freak, it’s very hard for me to accept that occasionally things happen that I have not planned and that I do not have control over. Irony also gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate my thoughts toward the specific event or situation. It challenges my thought patterns and reminds me that sometimes I take myself way too seriously. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to laugh at something than to cry tears of disappointment because once again, something did not go my way. What are the odds of me writing the vaguest comment directed toward a certain situation on a social media site and the person in the situation I’m commenting on actually responds– not knowing that the status was actually indirectly related to them. But the truth of the matter is that I can’t stop ironic situations from occurring. I can only make the decision to laugh about it. Life’s too short to be perpetually sad and upset.