Ever feel like you’re on the edge? Everything bubbling up waiting for the right (or inopportune) moment to blow up. You tell yourself you shouldn’t feel this way after all the people out there have it worse than you do.
Here’s the thing — we need to stop making excuses for our own well being, mental or otherwise.
Yes, there are people out there who do have it worse, but it doesn’t change the horrible situation that is taking a toll on you physically and mentally. You’re burning the midnight oil to meet deadlines, you’re coasting on 4 hours of sleep and 5 cups of coffee every day, your packed lunch also becomes your dinner, you have nightmares about work, and you wake up every day wishing for it to stop.
The alarm rings and instead of waking up with gusto to take over the world, you wake up with a sigh — “here we go again..”, you suffer through toxic work environments and neglect your social life all for the proverbial better that has been coming for 4 months now. You drag yourself out of bed and you tell yourself to get through the day after all “someone out there has it worse”.
There is courage in choosing to face what life throws at you every day, but it takes a lot more to acknowledge when things aren’t going well and to remove yourself from such a situation. You might find yourself in a less cushy job but if a job doesn’t treat you right or value you, no amount of money is ever going to change that.
You realize you are perpetually grouchy, stressing about everything, and those sleepless nights. You yell at your kid for asking the same questions over and over again even though you didn’t answer it properly the first time, you recognize this and you hate yourself for it but the annoyance and your anger at your child just won’t go away.
When you force yourself to stay in a bad situation for the “greater good”, chances are you end up projecting your displeasure at the people around you. The unwitting child becomes a verbal punching bag.
The thing is, we recognize when things are getting worse. We know when we’ve unfairly blown up at someone. We know staying at the office till midnight is not normal no matter what the GM says.
We know that skipping meals is bad for our health. We know the headache that we keep nursing with Panadol comes from immense pressure and stress. We know the sleepless nights aren’t because of a screwed up body clock.
But we choose to ignore them. We tell ourselves “someone out there has it worse, at least I have a roof over my head”, or something along those lines.
Worse still, sometimes we tell ourselves that we need to stay in a bad job because no other job is going to pay as well. When you do that, you’re inadvertently placing the blame on your family for the bad work environment you’re in — cue the projecting of your anger.
All these are signs from your own body telling you that you’re in a bad way. Listen to your body and slow down. Take a break, and if the situation is too bad, leave.
People might judge you and you might end up in a less comfortable financial situation, but your body will thank you. Your family will thank you. Your friends will thank you.
Maybe not verbally, but you’ll notice how they become much more lively around you. How the months of frowns and downward glances change into hearty laughs and smiles as wide as the pacific. It might sound cliche, but trust me.
Yes, there are people out there who have it worse, but you need to realize that you alone cannot stop something like poverty. That’s not to say do nothing about it, contribute to charities that help care for the homeless, volunteer at a soup kitchen, do what you can — every little bit helps.
Things like poverty and world hunger are out of your immediate control. What’s in your immediate control is your own life. Don’t use the suffering of others to justify your not taking care of yourself.
Besides, how are you going to help others when you’re in a bad way yourself?
Always remember, when things get too hard and your body is yelling at you to slow down, stop and take a step back. Evaluate the situation — are you giving too much for too little? Are you projecting too much onto the people around you? Most importantly, are you happy?