Mental Health is Key
Good evening, Dear Readers. I hope you’re staying cool amidst this sweltering heat. At this moment, it is 93 degrees in New York City. I just went on a run (not the best idea), and I had to stop halfway through because my body began to overheat (No worries. I’m drinking water now). Sometimes, I neglect my own self-care, which I could get away with on most days in Arkansas. Here in New York, however, one must be intentional about self-care. Otherwise, one could end up dehydrated, in the middle of Delancey Street, with countless subway stops separating them from home. In New York, I have to put time aside to take care of myself, which includes the most important — ensuring my mind is at peace.
Recently, I have realized that I can be too trusting of new people. People I attempt cozying up to later try to exploit my kindness in some way, which is a shame because while I have come to this conclusion about many people here, I have subsequently realized there are those who genuinely want to help me as well. But because of those who would allow me to do their work for them, or who would take my kindness as an opening for their own personal gain, I must approach all new people with a level of guardedness.
I don’t see it as all bad, though. I’ve had to reflect on why it’s taken me so long to get here. I think, in a way, I’ve always believed that all people want to be my friend, but that’s not the case. There are even those from my past who I look back on, wondering if we had ever been friends at all. Due to my naivete, I saw them as friends at the time, but with this new set of eyes, I see through the trickery. The thing is, I don’t think it’s always malicious, either. There are simply those who have been primed to exploit those around them to survive. They don’t know anything else. That doesn’t mean you have to put up with it, though.
Another reason why it’s taken me so long to see through people is because I wanted to believe that they had my best interests at heart. Don’t get me wrong. I have those around me who do support my endeavors, but going forward, my vetting process will be much more thorough, as I don’t have time for those who wish to waste my time. This has also made me more appreciative of the friends who do have my best interests in mind, because I’ve seen the opposite of what that looks like.
One other thing I’m learning about in my mental health journey is the importance of boundaries. It’s true that all the people around a single person will exploit that person’s boundaries (or lack thereof) until said person imposes a boundary. This applies in professional settings, as well as in personal ones. Like I said, there are those within a workplace who will let other people do their work for them, shirking their responsibilities as a team player. On the other side of this pendulum are those who will support the people around them. Those are the helpers. One simply has to figure out who is who (the funny thing is, it doesn’t take long to figure out who the slackers are. They will find every opportunity to shirk responsibility).
In the personal setting, imposing a boundary might look like telling a friend that one is too burnt out to speak after a certain time. It might also look like turning one’s phone on Do-Not-Disturb mode for a few days, ensuring no one connects with them. I’ve had to learn the hard way that imposing a boundary is not selfish. It is necessary. Without them, we all would be unhappy people, flailing to the whims of those who would sacrifice our very health for their agenda.
I’ve learned that asserting one’s self is also necessary. Telling someone that you don’t feel like you’re being enriched from their relationship is fine. Telling someone you don’t have the emotional capacity to take on their issues is also fine. In fact, once you voice where you stand with those who would seek to exploit your boundaries, you will feel so free that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
So yes, I’m making strides in my mental health journey. I had started that adventure in Arkansas, but being in NYC has forced me to confront it head-on, with no training wheels. As I said in one of my earlier blogs, I have had to confront myself and the issues I’ve been dealing with for a while. When one starts over in a city as big as New York, that person can either let the city swallow them, or confront all the demons at once. That is what I’m doing, and I am better for it.
I wish everyone the best in their own mental health journey. Remember that it’s ongoing. And some days, just getting through the day is enough. Until next time, Dear Readers. Kisses.