09.27.17

13 || PUSHING OTHERS AWAY

Heyo,

Doesn’t this title just get you stoked? How uplifting is this shit gonna be, huh?

I do apologize because, truth be told, this is probably going to be a heavy one. It was a topic that was brought to my attention by a friend recently. Rosi. You’ll meet her when you get to college. You’ll love her. She’s a walking billboard for class, and about 60% of the time you look like you crawled out of a dumpster, but the friendship works. You’ll need your Seattle family in LA and she’s going to be the main one.

But back to the point. Pushing others away, shutting down, that’s a common behavior. When Rosi brought this up with me, I realized it was the perfect subject for a letter because it is all too common. It doesn’t mean it’s a great way of handling things, but you know, it happens. And it’s something you have to learn to deal with. I wish I had learned earlier, but I’m doing it now. So here are my thoughts for you. As I see it there are three major umbrella categories that explain the instinct to push away others:

1.     Disappointment

2.     Stress

3.     Insecurity  

Let’s flesh this out a bit, shall we?

DISAPPOINTMENT

Okay. If you’re pushing someone away or shutting down because you’re disappointed with something that they said or did, that’s actually pretty okay. You are going to be disappointed a lot. By your friends, your boyfriends, your family. That’s part of the human existence. You’ll find that many a time your disappointment is brought on by feeling like a back burner thought to others.  

Maybe you made plans with someone and they double booked you and now they’re trying to squeeze you in last minute. Maybe you put a lot of effort into trying to make that timeslot work, meanwhile it seems like they could care less. Truth be told, that’s probably not the case, they probably do care, but they just didn’t think about it the way you did. And now here you are, feeling like an idiot for carving time out of your schedule for someone who couldn’t be bothered to do the same.

If that bums you out - which I imagine it would and, when it’s happened, it has - that’s fine. Seriously, it’s fine. Choosing to keep your distance in that moment, a moment that’s vulnerable and could easily spiral into something worse, is not a bad idea. We all need a breather occasionally. Just be mindful. Try to be kind about it, even when it stings. Don’t let it stretch an eternity and, when you do finally circle back around, do it with an even temper and a clear head.

STRESS

All right, this is a different game. If you pull this card, it’s a little less chill.

When you hit 23, a lot of different things are going to happen in your career. At first, you’re going to be recently unemployed thanks to the very necessary decision you make to leave your actual hell on earth job. Then, you’re going to start writing again. First for individual clients, then for companies. On top of that, you’re going to begin producing music videos because, hey, why not just throw some more stress in there.

Let’s be clear, you’re going to love all of these jobs and you’re going to be eternally grateful that the universe has allowed you a paid path into doing what you actually want with your life. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park. Sometimes, in fact about half of the time, you’re going to be making your way through that very park and then BAM. There’s going to be a giant fucking tornado in your path that’s called in all its other tornado friends to just hang out and tornado the shit out of your life.

Long story short, it’s stressful.

Pushing people away when you’re stressed is going to be a thing you do. When your plate is stacked too high, dealing with one more thing, even if it’s a person you love trying to help you, is going to set you off. You’ll get bitchy and in an attempt to justify it, you’ll become defensive, put up a wall, call them out on irritating you because you’re just too busy to deal with them and they don’t get it. How could they possibly get it? They don’t. They just don’t.

But, here’s the thing, they probably do get it. And then guess what? Eventually, the stress goes away. And you’ve pushed them so far back that they’re not there anymore. And that sucks.

So in those moments when you simply just cannot handle another thing, you have to try your hardest to remember that those people all up in your business, bugging you? They’re not bugging you. You’re just on edge. Chances are they’re willing to understand the place that you’re coming from because they’ve been there too.

Just practice a little patience. Yeah?

INSECURITY

This just gets more fun as well go along, doesn’t it? Insecurity, in my experience, is the primary cause of most emotional wall building. It stems from the worry that we’re not good enough. Not good enough for our friends, our partners, our families, ourselves. We see others succeed and we worry about being left behind. We worry they’ll move on to something better. So what do we do? What have you done?

You throw a fucking fit.

I’ve sort of narrowed it down to two reasons that this happens, and they go hand in hand. The first is that you’re scared, you’re jealous, you’re nervous, and so you cover it with anger. This whole idea of trying to take control of the situation by proving that you’re tough, you’re pissed, until the fight becomes: “What you don’t have time for me? Well fuck you, I don’t have time for you.”

The second reason you throw a fit is because you want to be fought for. We all want to be fought for. We want to be important enough to another person that, no matter how heinous we’re acting, we know they’ll come back to us because we’re valuable and we’re special and we’re good enough to cross through hell and back again to be with.  

But that’s not how it works. You’re going to find that out. You’re going to play that card and you’re going to lose a very significant person in your life when you do. And you’re going to have to make A LOT of changes to get that person back. When they come back, you’re going to learn that you were lucky they even did come back because, in most cases, they don’t.  

Listen. Battling insecurity means learning to recognize that you are good enough. FOR YOURSELF. If you’re good enough for yourself and you know you’re good enough for yourself, pushing others away for irrational reasons won’t be a behavior that you resort to because insecurity won’t be a factor in your mental state.

Granted, it’s all a process and no problem is solved quickly. I’m still learning to catch myself when I react poorly to another person’s positive experiences and successes. I know I’m good enough, but sometimes I falter. Unfortunately, you’re going to stumble and fall on a lot of hard times because, while you hold your head high in your career and in your talent, you have trouble replicating that in your relationships. You have an explosive temperament and a sensitive ego.

That’s okay though. I want you to remember that. I want you to learn to love yourself and treat others how you want to be treated. How cliché is that bullshit? But it’s true. I want you to get there. And I want you to know that you do get there. Slowly. You just have to be aware.

So gauge your disappointment, don't let your stress tarnish your relationships with those trying to help you, and try try TRY to remember that someone else’s successes don’t mean your failures or your eventual removal from their life. Whenever you can, try not to push away. Try not to put up walls because you’re hurting. Immediate reactions almost never result in you thinking, “Yeah, I totally don’t regret this.” Make sense?

Cool.

Love you nerd,

Coco