These days, it seems like everyone feels bad. People are upset or angry or anxious and we’re all just seeking ways to feel happy again.
But, as we sit in these complex emotions trying to find a way out of them, many of us don’t take the time to acknowledge what we’re doing to perpetuate these feelings.
I’m talking about the things we do to torture ourselves.
Oh yes. We’re torturing ourselves.
Why would we knowingly torture ourselves? Well, we don’t see the harm in what we’re doing. Some of the things that torture us the most are things we seek out in comfort or boredom or muscle memory. We make ourselves miserable with these things because they’re things we’ve always done.
Every day, as we fight through feelings of inadequacy, we’re doing things that we think will help us but totally won’t, and it’s about time we actually acknowledge how much we’re fucking ourselves up here.
Buckle up, buttercup. It’s time for some real talk.
Here’s two ways you’re totally torturing yourself.
You’re torturing yourself on social media.
Are you still friends with an ex you’ve never quite gotten over?
Do you have someone in your news feed that you fell out of touch with, that when you see their picture, your stomach knots and your heart hurts?
Do you have a Facebook friend who you really don’t like or isn’t a real friend?
Are you still friends with people who you have wronged just so you can see their lives turned out great and you hope you can feel just the tiniest bit less guilty for whatever happened?
Are you a liberal, female who went on Twitter?
Okay, so you get it. You guys, STOP torturing yourself on social media.
Social media was designed to bring people together, to create communities online made up of the people you love and trust and care about, but don’t necessarily see every day. So how is it that If you were to go through your Facebook friends right now, there’d be at least one person you don’t even know? Or someone who, through the passage of time or events in your lives, you don’t even know anymore?
We all torture ourselves each time we log into Facebook. I know, I’m guilty of it. And here’s how:
I’ll be killing some time online, scrolling through Facebook and I’ll think of something that reminds me of someone that used to be in my life.
I type their name in my search bar, and I hear a little voice deep in my head “DON’T DO IT. IT’S A BAD IDEA!” And I never listen, but that voice is always right.
I spend half an hour looking through everything new in this person’s life, learning new things about someone who used to be one of the most important people in my life. When I’ve exhausted Facebook, I’m on to Twitter, then Instagram. Then I blink and I’m down a rabbit hole, reading Yelp reviews of the original person’s brother’s wife’s gym business. And I feel miserable.
The next few days I cycle through my relationship with this person, which feels like a thousand years ago. I think about every decision I made that may have driven a rift between us; every time I was selfish or mean or hurtful or selfish again. I think and think and think on it and with each thought I hate myself more.
Then I dig deeper. I’m thinking about how depressing it is that I’m thinking about them. How absolutely fucking full of myself I must be to be thinking about them and wondering if they think of me.
Of course they don’t fucking think of me, I’m a miserable person! Remember all those things we just thought about why we were such a terrible friend/girlfriend/roommate? I’m lucky to have other wonderful people in my life that I love and can’t find time for, but I can spend three hours of my day destructively breaking this shit down?
It’s destructive, but common. You don’t need a high-quality therapist to tell you that if this person is so important to your life that you engage in these kinds of self-destructive behaviors, you have two options.
1.) Try to gain closure from the relationship ending so you can move on.
2.) Try to gain closure from the relationship so you both can decide if you want to be in each other’s lives again.
You get to these moments by talking and engaging with this person. By asking hard questions and being humble about how the relationship ending still makes you feel, however many years later.
You don’t get there by being self-destructive, creeping all over their (and their brother’s wife’s gym business’s) social profiles.
Don’t relate? Well, maybe your social media torture looks more like this.
You’re Facebook friends with someone you barely have memory of, someone you likely can’t even remember a conversation with. But you have convinced yourself with every fiber of your being that you hate that person.
Maybe it’s a girl from your high school that is living the kind of life you’ve always wanted. Maybe it’s someone who is dating one of your friends that has done everything you’ve ever wanted to do.
Maybe it’s someone you met at a party that had an electric personality who you’re dying to be best friends with but you don’t think you’re good enough to do so.
It doesn’t matter who it is, but the hatred you feel for them is rooted in jealousy or envy or your own not-good-enough-ness.
Let’s spin a bit on this one…
Do you find yourself comparing yourself and your life to someone’s Instagram profile? Are you looking at every perfectly posed picture and suddenly hating on your clothes or your family or your body or your last vacation?
Social media isn’t real, fam. It’s the highlight reel of our lives. Instagram is gorgeous and beautiful and I admittedly spend far too much time on it, but it’s not real.
Stop comparing yourself to a profile.
You guys. YOU GUYS. If you read this and you’re like “yup.” You’re torturing yourself. You’re making yourself miserable. You are keeping yourself from moving on with your life and making meaningful relationships with REAL people.
Unfriend them, mute them, block them. Get the hell off social media. Find accounts that best suit your soul.
You’re torturing yourself with your relationships
There are absolutely really toxic ways that relationships can torture you, but I’m not going to touch on the obvious subject of how various forms of abuse can torture you.
Instead, I’m going to talk about more every day occurrences.
Do you have a friend that you feel like you can’t be your complete self?
Someone who makes you feel like you are constantly walking on egg shells around?
Someone who you truly believe, in your heart-of-hearts, doesn’t care whether you are angry or disappointed or depressed or stressed or happy or sad?
Someone who doesn’t develop your relationship?
Is there someone is your life who doesn’t celebrate your successes?
Are you in a relationship with someone where your expectations are so consistently high that you are perpetually let down by them?
Do you have someone in your life who makes your problems all about them?
Are you making time for a peer or a friend or a family member who does nothing but takes you for granted?
I could keep going but I think my point is clear.
Negative people infect our lives, and guess what, the people that do the biggest damage are not the strangers you interact with on Twitter.
They are the people who you like, the people who you love even. People who are or feel like your family. Regardless of the amount of love or like that is present, something about your relationship with these people is draining or disappointing and no matter how often you try and bring it up, it falls on deaf ears and never gets better.
The people and relationships that torture you are often the ones that you feel you are investing the most in; you’re trying to bridge distance between you and this other person, you’re the one who initiates conversations or get togethers, you’re the one that’s putting in the work and the other person sits idly by. You’re frustrated or let down constantly, but this person still stays in your life.
Maybe you feel like you need to work harder to be a better friend to make up for the effort they’re not matching. You know where this is going. You’re torturing yourself.
If someone loves you and values you, they’ll put in the work. Plain and simple. They will anticipate your needs and they will do what they can to keep you in their lives. Sure, their effort may look different than yours (we all speak our own Love Language) but if you cannot see any effort they’re putting into your relationship, well, then they don’t value your relationship. Plain and simple.
Break ups between friends or significant others are never easy, but sometimes you’re growing as a person and other people have reached the end of their growing. Or you’re growing in different directions. And that’s okay.
Moving on with your life does not mean you don’t cherish the time you spent together. Every single one of us deserves relationships with people who value the things that are important to us and who want to see us succeed. Why would we want someone in our lives who even for the tiniest bit makes us feel less than or not good enough or not important enough?
Surround yourself with negative people and you will be negative. Surround yourself with negative topics and experiences and guess what, you’re with negative people.
Stop letting those relationships torture you. Stop telling yourself the harder you work on the relationship, the better friend you are. Be a better friend to yourself and let that person go.
Looking for the TL;DR version?
Think of all the things you’re doing to try and achieve your dreams. Think of everything you worry about when you’re actively pursuing your passions.
Why on earth would you want to dedicate even the smallest mind space with things or people that make you feel miserable?
You’re on a path to reach new heights, to create and cultivate a career and life you’ve always dreamed of. Along the way, you will learn new things about yourself and you will grow. These things, social media and toxic relationships, distract you and make you lose sight of the outcome of the work you’re putting in to make a change.
Don’t let these things that torture you hold you back.
Let’s keep this conversation going. What other things torture you, or keep you from focusing on achieving your dreams?
Share them in the comments below.
Ally Pippin is a writer, mother, and digital media professional from Orlando, Florida. In all aspects of life - from parenting to career building - she believes the keys to success are a clear vision of your future self, a whole lot of belly laughs and a few stiff gin & tonics. You can connect with her on Instagram or Twitter @allyjeanpippin, or follow along with her food and family adventures on her blog, Ally Jean.