Dear Stressed Out,
I know you just want to scream into a pillow right now. I get it. Today was hard. life is hard. life is unfair. I-you are helpless, hopeless. What is the point of living….
Before you read any further, go wash your face, sit down in front of a desk or a table, get your journal, light a candle and play some U2. Maybe make yourself a bowl of miso soup too (If you’re out of miso, put it on your todoist to re-stock).
Comfortable? Now continue.
First, Write down what is bothering you so much. Chances are you’ve gone through something like this before. Flip and read the tear-soaked pages, I bet you’ll find them very funny now. But, I remember how painful it was while living through them. I only write in the journal when I’m sad — Something I need to change but don’t worry, I won’t count on you to have done that successfully. However, every entry represents a time of extreme helplessness. I truly thought if things did not go my way, there would be no way. Now would be a good time to update in the journal how all those events ended. I am sure you exceeded your own expectations every single time.
Sure, you are reaching a point where you do have to make compromises to your expectations. But if I am being honest with you, (Where else can I exhibit this luxury?) all your goals right now are a marathon and not 100 m races. It is not the goals by itself you need to compromise upon, but the timeline of it. It isn’t an exam where you can cram for a few nights and get good grades. It requires patience and consistency. This for a fact I can tell you that I am bad at. I don’t know if you still struggle with this, but just to re-iterate the key — patience, and consistency.
Just for a quick second, I want to clarify that I am extremely proud of you. I appreciate and thank you for continuing to focus on things that matter the most to you and not taking the easy way out. Hard work is something you and I will never shy away from.
Speaking of blood, sweat, and tears, if it is work that is bothering you, remember how hard you worked and the hoops you jumped to get that job. To be busy and given responsibilities is a blessing and something to be grateful about. Be objective and see how you can improve the situation. It is not always going to be an easy fix, so when you decide upon something, keep a note on your desk and execute your decision. Also, trust your instincts, I know you have good ones.
By now, you must have cut off social media from your life entirely. If you have an itch to go back on facebook or flash your life on Instagram, read this paragraph carefully to remind yourself why it is a bad idea. I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others. In terms of successes, life experiences and relationships. And social media for you is what alcohol is for a drunk. It is bound to be abused. I do believe in blogging and recording your life on a blog. It is a more insightful medium for you to record memories and reflect on the experience. You also won’t give out a false facade of living a peachy life. If you do have to use Twitter and Instagram, follow accounts only for artistic inspiration and appreciation.
I want to further expand on the habit of comparing yourself. STOP IT. I know you relapse from time to time, and it is one of the hallmarks of your personality, but hit yourself on the head when you do it. I don’t care if you think you are dumber than X or poorer than Y or uglier than Z. All that matters is if you and the people you care about are healthy, having meaningful relationships with people you respect, learn and grow every single day and as Maya Angelou says, Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. This is all you need to do to be happy. This is what it all boils down to.
This is a perfect time to revisit my values and make them yours again. It is important to note that as time progresses, you want to work towards being who you decide to be and not let the person you are and were, cloud your judgment. It also does not matter if people disagree with your values — You don’t want them around you anyway.
I know that relationships — the lack of it, also causes you a lot of pain. I need you to know that like every other goal in life, patience is important here too. It feels bad when the love and care you give is not returned. But, it is essential to note that they are human too and you cannot control how they feel about you. All you can do is be nice ( No passive-aggressive monkey games). However, if you feel that your emotions are not mutual, don’t invest any further. Tend your wounds, move along and plant a new seed.
And finally, Be kind to yourself. This is probably the hardest thing I’ll ask you to do in this letter. It is okay to vent your feelings out, it is totally fine to not be and feel okay. Just take a couple of hours watching animals being adorable while you finish your miso soup.
Give yourself a hug from me.
Originally published at medium.com