I made a New Year’s resolution.
I want to be kinder to people this year.
(I don’t give a fuck what you think about New Year’s resolutions, either, I don’t see a problem with—-)
See! There it goes! I want to not do that! I want to not say stuff like that! THAT is the thing I am trying to change!
I want to make it clear right now, I am not an unhappy, or unkind person. I’m not a mean person, either. I’m generally pretty happy and pretty nice a good portion (but not all) of the time. I’m just saying that I see some room for improvement in myself, and I want to tackle it.
I think I’m just not as kind as I could be. I let my emotions REALLY dictate my actions, so when I’m annoyed, you know. When I’m happy, you know. When I’m angry, everyone knows.
So I’m going to try something new this year. When I get annoyed, angry, hurt, etc….I’m going to try that whole “kill em with kindness” thing.
Seriously! Stop laughing.
I want to give it a shot!
I think it would help….it would help me feel better.
I’m not saying I have anger issues, because I genuinely don’t think I do. But I do have some resentment issues, and that’s different. I have an amazing ability to NEVER let go of resentment, no matter how small. I have a super hard time just forgiving and forgetting, even about the stupidest shit.
I tend to carry resentment around with me way more than I should. More than anyone should. I overthink things, and let them marinate for a long time in my head, until they get blown out of proportion. Some nights I can’t sleep, my head is just filled with so much bullshit I can’t let go: old resentment from my childhood, things from years ago, things from last week. It’s all in there.
I can be downright vengeful. I don’t mean that I am like biblical-reference-style-vengeful, over the top revenge seeker… I just mean that I can be really shitty to people who piss me off. I wear it all over my face and body language when I don’t like someone. It’s painfully clear to everyone in a 100 mile radius how I feel. My friend and team mate, Shikera, remarked the other day to someone, “If Lauren doesn’t like you, you’ll know.” I’m just not good at faking that kind of stuff and have never been interested (See: TUF26).
I couldn’t even bring myself to look at Eddie here. THIS is the thing I’m talking about that I want to change.
On the other hand, if I like someone, THAT is also really apparent. And I try to like most people. I’m not, by any stretch, a particularly unhappy person, or full of hate or something… I just have a character defect of holding onto resentment that I want to try to deal with this year.
I don’t want to be disingenuous, of course- I don’t want to be fake by acting like everything’s fine if it’s not, or that I’m happy if I’m not happy, but I don’t think that’s really the problem. The REAL problem, the crux of it (I think), is that I need to not be so damn resentful about this shit in the first place. I gotta find a way to let it go, because resentment basically eats me alive. It literally keeps me up at night sometimes, thinking about things.
So that’s what this 365-day experiment is for. 352 days now, actually.
For a long time, when I was younger, I had the opposite problem. I was on the other end of the spectrum, where I never really spoke my mind and hardly ever spoke up for myself.
I actually ended up in a ton of bad spots because I couldn’t speak my truth. I found myself in situations I didn’t want to be in, or hanging out with “friends” who mistreated me, and once, (whoopsie!) even ended up in a marriage to a guy who was actually fairly abusive to me AND my son, because I couldn’t just say “no”, or “stop that”, or “I don’t deserve this, I’m leaving”.
Now look, I’m not saying that I was mistreated more than anyone else, because I wasn’t and am not. It’s not like people were just abusing me left and right, every day. What I am saying, is that when I would run into a situation that the average assertive person would have been able to handle, I would say nothing, which led to me feeling resentful. I would take that shit WAY personally and hold on to it basically until the sun died out. There was no such thing as a tiny resentment that I could just let go of.
Turns out I lost a lot of sleep then, too. I would lay awake at night, thinking, “Why did I let that woman say those things to me?” “Why didn’t I speak up for myself when he did that?” “I wish I had just said X-Y-Z” . I would drive myself crazy, full of regret thinking about it.
On top of that, I would be mad at myself for acting like a coward and letting people just get away with talking to me or treating me like shit. It drove me crazy. To this day, I still feel like, when people say something that offends me, if I don’t say something shitty back, then I’ve let them walk on me. Turning the other cheek is a practice I am extremely unfamiliar with.
So, a number of years ago, I started practicing speaking up for myself. The advent of social media, and martial arts in my life, helped a lot. Social media because it’s way easier to use MySpace/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to tell people what you think because it’s not face to face, and martial arts because they gave me confidence.
The more I spoke up for myself, the easier it became, and after a while I started becoming “that guy” who would tell you what I thought, to your face, about just about anything. I was no longer afraid of conflict! I wasn’t afraid to tell people “The Truth” anymore! Sometimes people respect that, and sometimes it’s worked really well, but other times it just causes more conflict.
Other times, I’ve spoken up in situations where it wasn’t even necessary. Just people doing things that have nothing to do with me, and I give my opinion about it, unnecessarily.
I thought for sure that by speaking up, that remorseful/resentful feeling I felt when people offended me would go away. I wouldn’t have any regrets, because I would be standing up for myself, and being honest, and putting my truth out to the world! No one would mistreat me ever again, and get away with it! ….Right?
Unfortunately I was wrong.
It turns out that me telling people what I think about them and what they are doing or have done, doesn’t change them at all! And in some cases, I’ve caused more resentment than I resolved. It’s been a long process to realize that the point isn’t to try and change them, it’s to change me. To change how long I hold on to resentment for, to change how I treat people that I feel resentment toward, and to change the things I feel resentment about. A big part of it is realizing I have no control over anything besides myself, and letting it go.
So I’m going to give it a year and try to just be kinder to people. I think, for some reason, that must be a step in the right direction. It’s kind of like faking it until you make it. Maybe by making a conscious effort to be nicer, I’ll start feeling better. Especially toward people that I perceive as having offended me somehow. I mean, that’s the challenge, right? Its pretty natural to be kind to people who are nice in the first place. I’m talking about the people I don’t want to be kind to.
I’m going to try to shut my mouth more, and keep my opinion to myself. It’s needed and wanted less than I think it is anyway.
And, if things are somehow shittier when we roll in to 2019 because of it, I can always go back to glaring at people who piss me off, telling people exactly what I think, and grinding my teeth at night over shit I can’t control. It’s just a year, not really that long. If that one dude could spend a whole year trying to live by the Old Testament in the Bible, I can be as nice as possible to everyone for a year.
I’ll keep you guys updated on how it goes.
I’ve had several opportunities to practice this so far in the last two weeks. It’s not going to be easy, I’ve already failed a couple times. What I have noticed more though, is the opportunities I have to practice, and I guess that’s the first step.