So, I read this book…
Ironically, I ordered it before my life took an unexpected turn for the worse, but I guess you could say I was anticipating (maybe even preparing for?) it in a way. And truthfully, this book was delivered just in time.
First of all, I highly recommend this read. It won’t change your life in one day, but it will make you start to think about changing your approach to certain situations in life. The most influential themes I took away from it are:
- We all need to stop framing our reality based on other’s perceptions of us (and any other uncontrollable factors)
- Weathering the shitstorm is usually a necessity
- You really don’t know everything (so stop pretending like you do).
As it turns out, you can’t control other people. Chasing perfection and trying to control every diminutive aspect of your life is a recipe for disaster and anxiety. It breeds unwanted stress. You can’t expect to account for every possible outcome in a situation, yet that’s what I’ve found I always try to do. It’s always been the unknown variables that I don’t do well with. But at some point you have to realize, you can’t control the way other people are; you can’t make someone care about you, or even like you for that matter. And you can’t base your worth on any of that shit.
Others will care as much as they want to, and sometimes factors in their own life will affect that. And guess what? Most of the time it will have nothing to do with you. Which brings me to another valuable lesson I found in this book: it’s not always about you.
Last Saturday I woke up to a beautiful morning with no real plans for the day. I went to the gym, hit up the grocery store, and even got my car washed. I needed my next destination to be out in the sun, next to the water, in a bikini and preferably with a drink in my hand. Everyone I texted was either out of town, busy, or just flat out didn’t respond. All I wanted to do was go to the damn beach and no one was available to join me.
If you would have put this situation in front of me last month or even last year, my response would have been to just stay home and contemplate how lame I am, or retreat to my parents house where I could lay out, undisturbed, in their yard. I would sacrifice the idea of going to the beach because I didn’t want to go alone.
Last Saturday, I said “fuck it.”
And guess what? I had a wonderful time. I didn’t need to, nor did I want to, depend on the accompaniment of anyone else as my only reason for going to the beach. This is not a testament to any new-found reclusiveness amidst the breakup, but more so, a new-found independence. Yes, it would have been nice to have a beach buddy. But it was not necessary and everything was still okay. No one was at fault for not being available to join me, and I was still able to enjoy the couple hours of relaxation and solitude.
This book showed me that I’ve been a little too self-centered through the hard times too. Everyone has problems. You have no idea what someone else is going through (you know, back to the whole not being able to know/control everything), and in no way should you assume that all the bad stuff is only happening to you. That is victim mentality and it is toxic as hell.
I was at my cousin’s wedding a couple weekends ago, and took full advantage of the open bar. I was approached by a family member who asked how my relationship was going, and I had a total drunken breakdown. I explained how horribly he ended it; how I never meant anything; how I’m going on 27 years old, and feel so lost and alone; how it feels like the rest of the world has found their forever person and I’m back to square one. She listened intently, with a slight smirk on her face. When I was finished and composed myself, she looked me in the eye, and you know what she told me?
“I am seriously so excited for you and this time in your life.”
Like, what? It didn’t hit me until [sobriety hit me] the next day — how significant those few words actually were. Even in simply reframing the way you view your own misfortune; acknowledging that yeah shit still kind of sucks, and yeah sometimes I still hurt, and some days will be shittier than others, but in the end I will be better for it. I got out of a bad situation. I am ready for this time in my life. Others would honestly kill to be in my situation right now. I’m young, independent, and ready to face whatever this world throws at me. Sometimes we need to weather that shitstorm to come out better and more appreciative of the things we do have.
And that’s why you should probably read this book, then give it to everyone else you know to read too.
Now here is some empowering music from my girl Kesha.