I want you to take a moment to think about the people you have in your life.
You can go ahead and exclude the Facebook masses. I want you to think about the people in whom you invest your time on a daily basis.
Who are they? Who do you invest the most time into? Do they know the real you, or do they know the image you project to them? Do you truly care about them or are you just playing nice?
Most importantly, do they add anything to your life?
For years, I allowed myself to invest my emotion and energy into people who did absolutely nothing for me. Not from a material standpoint, but from a betterment standpoint. From a soul standpoint. I wasted time and tears on persons who never really cared or knew me. This persisted because I didn't value myself enough to realize that I deserved more than leeches and complainers for friends. The sub-par narrative I told myself about myself on a daily basis set the tone for the people I allowed into my life.
The day you begin to value the person you are right now, and the second you start catering to the person you know you can be, is the defining moment when your blinders will fall off.
You'll start to align yourself with people who are about something and won't be so willing to sacrifice for people who limit your potential (whether they do it intentionally or unintentionally). Your inner narrative has changed, so your outer narrative will change, too. This is not an overnight thing. It's slow, and hard, and sometimes you'll run right back to old habits. But if you stick with it, your talents will make room for you.
It took years of being a serial monogamist, a marriage that ended in divorce two short years later, and a deathly dance with alcoholism before I was able to stop running from the geeky girl I tried to smother in college. The people in my life at the time thought video games and manga weren't "cooI" and would become cat ladies. I buried myself so deep, I didn't really know who Kathryn was anymore. But the moment I stopped running, made a conscious decision to take control of my own destiny, and started crawling back to the right path -- there was a monumental shift in perception of myself and the world around me.
The thing is, you can't do this hard work alone. You need to surround yourself with positive people.
This doesn't mean unrealistic optimists who sing a song every second of the day. A positive person is someone who sees where you're trying to go and will help you get there in whatever way they can. Be it a word of encouragement and understanding or a swift kick in the rear and a scolding. The type of positive people you need in your corner are consistent not only in how they deal with you but in the way they conduct their own business, too. Seek out stability in action and in thought.
Be your authentic self and sincerity will find you (or you'll become a lot better at sniffing out bullshit.) Be willing to accept help when you need it and take criticism with grace. Don't ever take the people who believe in you for granted, and be sure to return the favor whenever you're able to.
This is my thank you letter to every person who stuck by me when I was trying my damndest to destroy myself, and for every individual who has helped me dust myself off and get back to Kat. You're appreciated much more than these words could ever express.
To those reading, my loves, getting better and staying better is a two-fold operation. It starts with what you tell yourself and it ends with what you allow others to tell you.