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“Each of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm.  When we look at each other we must say, I understand.  I understand how you feel because I have been there myself.  We must support each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.”

Maya Angelou

I cannot tell you how much energy I expel thinking other’s moods or actions are because of me.  My dad says often: “Jess, you should read your blog sometime.”  I practice what I preach and write, however some things (if not all) are works in progress.  It is true that I truly do not care what other people think of me but I care, almost too much what the people I love think of me.  I often think my dad is mad at me when he is just dealing with crap in his life as well as the rest of us.  I do not know why but he is literally the last person I ever want angry with me.  If he is in an “off” mood my mind goes crazy with questions: is he mad at me?  Did I do something or say something?  Did I talk too much and not ask enough questions?  Did I do something to disappoint him?  You get the picture.  Nine times out of ten he is not angry with me in the least and is just busy or stressed with things that have zero to do with me.   I waste so much time worrying if my dad is angry with me: increased anxiety, increased pain, loss of time.

Someone I love very much can seem different at times and I immediately think it is because of me.  It was truly bothering me as I wanted to please this person and be a daughter figure to her and felt I was failing. Because I find it hard to get all my thoughts in order when talking about something important, I tend to write a letter. Once we finally communicated, I learned a lot about this person I love is fighting her own battles: some of which I knew about and some I was completely unaware of.  Turns out, all those times I sat worrying and letting my mind think I did something to upset her was not even close to the truth.  Once again, wasted time worrying: increased anxiety, increased pain, loss of time.

I should know better than anyone how stress, health issues (in my case chronic pain) and just life changes can make a person seem angry, different, or just not him or herself.  There are many times I am focusing on my management of chronic pain or having a difficult day and I am totally not myself.  It frustrates the hell out of me when people ask: “What’s wrong?   You are not yourself.”  It is like when a person says: “Wow, you look really tired!!!”  When I am acting un-Jessica like (talkative, smiling, laughing, and silly) people think I am being rude or bitchy because I am quiet or they think I am angry with them.  This is the furthest thing from the truth.  Ninety percent of the time I am just dealing with my own issues and how I act has zero to do with anyone else.  So, how have I not realized that this is true for everyone?  We are all dealing with various life issues that cause us to not be ourselves.

We all truly need to stop worrying about what other’s moods mean and just focus on ourselves and our health/happiness.  Like the quote says: “What other people think of you is none of your business.”  Your loved ones love you and if you must say to a loved one: “I worry when you seem angry at me and I am sure you rarely are but please come to me if I upset you.”  We are all more alike than we think.

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