Don’t Get Played

The best people I know- the kindest, most generous, coolest etc- get found by the desperate, needy and difficult. There’s a pleasure in being needed but there’s stress in it too. Don’t forget you need yourself too.

I get it. Life is hard. Life is so hard that you’re allowed to fuck up and take things for yourself. If somebody owes you $50, it’s not on you to be stressed. If somebody owes you more, don’t let them. Friendship and money don’t mix as well as you’d think. Get it on record, get on splitwise.com, get on Venmo, and don’t let small debts and irritations snowball.

A lot of you don’t. Many people are good at taking care of themselves. But some people don’t. Some people know that they don’t but observe themselves from the outside, saying things without doing them and lamenting the curse of being them.

Don’t be like that. Change and do. Save yourself.

***

Don’t get played.

You’re allowed to dump your mediocre boyfriend or girlfriend. You’re even allowed to break up with your pretty great but difficult boyfriend or girlfriend. Life is hard! Things are complicated! But feeling like you owe somebody something in the face of facts and feelings does nobody any favors.

It’s easier to let yourself do whats true.

It’s not even a matter of toughening up. Chances are you aren’t really worried about the other person. People bounce back from all sorts of things: you standing up for yourself isn’t going to cause any fainting spells up in here. No, chances are you aren’t standing up for yourself because it scares you. Confrontation is scary! It’s unpleasant by nature. But you know what else is unpleasant? Saying “yes” when you really mean no to the wrong things: the wrong meals, people or apartments for the fear of hurting feelings.

Bad things fester. And if you force them down, they’ll fester inside you. Better to give an honest no than a shaking yes.

***

This might sound like an over-earnest opportunity for indulgence. There’s always a “treat yourself!” under-current to popular culture. I mean, we want to treat ourselves so there’s a bias to advice that lets us indulge.

This isn’t that. Not quite.

You’re going to treat yourself in the immediate. But what about the broader, psychological and lasting ways you can improve your life? Those are often harder and more awkward to implement. How is eating salad “treating yourself?” We don’t think of life improvements as self-serving, fun things: they’re shackles we resist, even when intellectually we should take them on.

I get it. Doing the right thing is hard. But at least try and remember that it’s good for you, that you’ll be happier, in the basic easy ice-cream-and-cookies sense of the thing.

At the very least, don’t let yourself get played.

Find the toxic connections in your life. Cut them off. Take what you need from people who have no such problems taking it from you.

In the shadows of the fourth of July, it’s importance to remember the upsides of independence. It’s not just the freedom to do things: it’s just as much the freedom from. Freedom from doing awkward, anxious things because you’re afraid not to.

Be you.

Don’t get played. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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