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Shot of Tonic

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
― Mark Twain

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“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

This week marks the end of my Undergraduate career as a student. Now that I am leaving school, I realize that I am a person who likes to play it safe. But playing it safe doesn’t allow me to live life. It’s scary to be uncomfortable but I can’t stay in my comfort zone. I won’t grow in my comfort zone. I have to step out and take chances.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
― Jim Henson

Nowadays I dare someone to tell me I’m not the hottest thing since the release of the first iPhone! I realize that if I don’t love all aspects of myself then no-one else will.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein

How often do we compare ourselves to others in terms of their accomplishments instead of taking the time to appreciate our own individual accomplishments and abilities. We are all individuals and we can never achieve what someone has for ourselves. No, you can attain your own goals and achieve your objectives because it is not theirs once you gain, it its yours. It has been colored by your experience, joys, and pains and is unique to you.

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

Everyone says that they want to fall in love, but I don’t. I hate it. I hate the vulnerability that it makes me feel and the power it gives my love interest. I hate how he now knows me so intimately that the slightest change in his facial expression, touch, speech, eyes spirals me through a series of emotional highs and lows. I hate that when our love falls apart I feel absolutely devastated. I hate falling in love because I don’t know where it is going, but without love I am nothing.

“we accept the love we think we deserve.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

For the longest time I believed I was worthless. I would allow others to badmouth, disrespect, and take advantage of me; letting them dictate how I felt about myself.

By nature, I am an amenable person; I don’t like conflict and prefer being on good terms with those around me. I guess I am the textbook definition of a people pleaser. Before, I had this distorted notion that the best way to interact with others was to give. If I had the time or resources and there was someone in need, I would give it without a second thought. The idea of being a giver was something that I was raised with, so it never really clicked that others weren’t raised with the same ideal.

One thing about being nice is that people view it as a weakness. Amiability, to them, is an inherent character flaw meant for exploitation. So I was used beautifully.

Sometimes sly comments would be made about my appearance that belittled me, but because I preferred to avoid confrontation, I would laugh it off and pretend that the jab hadn’t stung. My time and resources would be exploited, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no. Under the guise of friendship, wolves would approach and tell me about certain character flaws that I should consider working on; and like an idiot, I would internalize the remarks and blame the flaws for my crappy relationships.

Then one day I just decided that I wouldn’t take it anymore. Saying no didn’t make me evil, and being assertive didn’t equal bitch. If you asked me for too much I was happy to say the sacred two-letter word. N-O! And I would do so with relish because it empowered me. If an individual made a comment that I felt belittled me I would pull them aside and let them know how it made me feel. If someone came to me with a character flaw that she wanted to “help” me with, I would listen with one ear and keep it if it was actually true. I was on a roll and it felt good.

I realize now that I was receiving crap because I felt I deserved crap, but once I realized that I needed respect, I sure as hell demanded it. Shoot! Now that I have tasted heaven, I am no longer returning to the hell that was my personal relationships.

Were there ever moments where you accepted disrespect?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
― Mark Twain

It’s very comfortable to be in tune with popular opinion. It’s easier to just move with the flow and find camaraderie with your social circle. But consider the dissenting voice, the one person who acknowledges the elephant in  the room and ask yourself why she is ignored. Is there a merit of truth in what she says? Why is everyone determined to silence her? And why is she persisting despite the detriment to her social net-worth? Sometimes siding with the majority comes at a cost you maybe unwilling to pay.