Am I just a box that you need to check? Am I just something to say you’ve done and then you just continue down your to-do list? Am I a task that you’ve completed today and now can move on from? Is that really what I am?
I hate that these are thoughts that are running through my head. I really, really do. But I can’t control them. They are not necessarily prompted by one person, so don’t worry, this isn’t going to call you out. But girls do it. Guys do it. Friends do it. Acquaintances do it. As much as I hate it, other people’s actions and thoughts have been influencing my general mood. They have been influencing how I feel about what is going on in the world around me and how I feel about myself within that world. The nuances of how people interact, between myself, strangers, friends, professors, the best baristas (you catch my drift), has been in the forefront of my mind. And the way that people interact with one another, and the “purposes” for each interaction, can be kind of unsettling.
Anyone who knows me would dispute this whole form of self-thought right now, but here we go.
“But people like you,” they’d say.
“People pay attention to you,” they’d assure me.
“People think you’re a good person. People want you to open up to them and get to know you.”
Sounds like the start to solid friendships or relationships, right? It would be, well, it could be, except for one trend. Except for how when people get what they want from me, regardless of what that end goal is, they drop off. Like, see ya. Sayonara. I’m walked over, used, and left to figure it out on my own. Left questioning what it was about me that screwed up and what I need to improve about myself to avoid that happening again. What threw someone else off, what made me awkward or uncomfortable to be around and why I am the way I am. Sounds dramatic, I know, but is it really dramatic if that’s my internal monologue?
But you know what, no…
There isn’t something about me that needs to change. It’s not fair for someone else, regardless of how relevant or not they are to my life, to make me feel like a bullet point on a to do list. I’m not a box that needs to be checked off and moved on from. I’m not someone to be crossed off a list once I’m won over, not someone to be walked over or used for my “purpose” and pushed to the side.
But that’s how it feels. Once I allow my feelings to show, even the tiniest bit and I become honest or open, people check me off as a challenge completed, a task done. As soon as I put down any wall or allow myself to just maybe feel anything, that that’s enough to make someone feel accomplished. With “friends” that’s harder to come to terms with. Once someone gets what they think I can offer them, they check me off their list. I’m “beneficial” for one thing or another.
I know that not all people are like this. I know that most people are not this harsh or rude or this negative. But even to be treated like this by one or two people really devalues how I feel about myself as a human. It would do that for anyone. It reinforces the negative feelings that I have toward myself which is unfair. The reality is that it’s human nature to care what people think about you and to want to please them. It is natural to take what other people think into consideration. The issue is when it becomes that those opinions are how you feel about yourself.
I think this is why I might put up so many walls. This might be why I don’t allow myself to “feel feels.” I don’t allow myself to open up because of this…this pattern. I know that feelings are human, but how can something that is supposed to be so natural be so hurtful to the person that I am? How can it make me feel so genuinely crappy if it’s something that I’m just “supposed to have”?
Be considerate as to how you treat people. Don’t just use someone for one thing or another. Those are real people with real feelings and to treat someone like they are just a task or something “completed” is not fair to that person or to yourself. But also, be open to letting people know how you feel. Even though I may not be at that place, I encourage you to try. Be vulnerable. Let yourself recognize your feelings.
DO be kind.
DO be considerate.
DO be the best version of yourself and find what makes you happy.