Healthy Hurts

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Your healthiness is hurting the people around you. That’s right, you being a healthy individual from the perspective of having your life in order, operating within some level of peace, and just being happy—is potentially having a negative impact on the people around you. Because we are all intrinsically the same, each of us can reflect each other like a mirror.

When someone sees you, they are also seeing themselves. The problem with seeing yourself in another person is sometimes you might not like what you see. There are some people who do not like to look at themselves directly in an actual mirror. So, to see you reflect them and for them not to like what they see, is potentially detrimental.

Have you ever heard that the grass is always greener on the other side? Well for some people you are that other side grass. The problem is not that you are healthy, it is that the other person is not. What exacerbates that issue is when that unhealthy person sees how healthy you are, because they are unhealthy, they can or will begin to project that unhealthiness on to you.

Have you ever had a person be mean to you for literally no reason? Has someone ever not like you just because you exist? People ever always have something to say around you? Those type of behaviors is that person’s unhealthiness on display. You to them represent something that they are not. It is easier to criticize than it is to change. So, instead of that person deciding to learn from you they would rather find ways to tear you down. They do this because asking you for help or looking up to you in some way, would be an admission of guilt on their behalf.

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman refer to this in their book “Big Friendship” as Shine Theory. Shine theory done right is a collaborative effort to make an investment in the parties involved in a relationship to help everyone be the best version of themselves.

What happens is, the people we allow to be close to us are in essence collaborators with us. The Bible says that people typically do not associate with one another unless they have something functionally in common. None of us should have “friends” just for the sake of saying that we have friends. The only reason some families even see each other around the holidays is because they are family members.

When you have people around you who are willing [and are supposed] to be aligned with you, shine theory states that the two of you should be helping each other out. That is you asking them “how can I help you grow?”And them asking you “how can I do the same?” Iron sharpens iron. What can happen within the context of shine theory is, one person may feel as though they cannot be as helpful, or that they cannot or do not want to be sharpened. So now instead of you two helping each other, one person may engage in intentionally doing the opposite.

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What do you do when your healthiness brings out the worse in other people?

Logically, the right thing to do is to remove yourself from that situation. In this type of scenario, you going above and beyond for someone who does not want you to, will not produce the result that you think it will.

Speaking from personal experience, loving on someone does not mean that person will love on you back. Each one of us has our own capacity for love. You may do something that you think is meaningful for someone and they may not think anything of it. Do not let someone else’s unhealthiness weigh you down. Misery loves company. Some people only want to cut you at the knees. They rather you be cripple too, than for you to help them be able to walk.

The only reason why any of that even happens is because of your presence. To quote a famous rapper: your presence is a present.

Some people just do not like you. When faced with those facts you must take the matter in your own hands less you end up becoming unhealthy yourself.

I moved to Texas from New Jersey back in early 2021. In the couple of years leading up to that decision, I was tossed to and fro by basically every person I had a relatively close relationship with. It ended up having such a severe negative impact on me to the point where every few months I was either in a mental hospital, literally losing my mind in a random street, or having regular anxiety attacks.

All I wanted to do was love and be loved. I was a vessel. If someone needed me for something I made myself available. I thought that by doing that God would look upon me favorably. I thought I was doing the right thing. My logic in that season of life was if I just keep giving myself to these people then maybe at some point, they will appreciate me and see my value.

Turns out whether, professionally, personally, or romantically no matter what I did for who, none of the people on the receiving end of my generosity really cared.

As long as I was around, I could be used by them. They did not care that their mistreatment of me was leading me to literally losing my mind.

All of this got worse once I started to take my life into my own hands. Once those same people who I gave everything to, saw that I was not going to do that anymore, the toxicity levels reached over 9000. It got so bad to the point where a former associate of mine—once close friend, brought his entire family to my house during my going away party and decided to confront me on my decision to leave New Jersey. Imagine that.

My decision to leave New Jersey came after much prayer—a lot. Ultimately it was the best decision I ever made. But here is the thing, it was a good decision not just for me, but also for the people I was leaving as well. To be clear, I did not leave because of them. If I could have found/reclaimed my peace in New Jersey, I would have been writing this post from there.

The sad truth is people will hate you because they are not you.

A healthy person is not one with a vendetta. When making decisions for your health it’s important to consider the impact on the people connected to you. Sometimes the best decision for both parties is to separate amicably. A you shaped void forces that person to continue to live their life however they were already doing so. The point of contention is gone.

There is no way for them to perpetuate anything because there is no longer anything to perpetuate. It is like you putting up a fence on your lawn so that person cannot keep staring and looking at how green it is. The benefit to that is, you will not be hurting them anymore by distracting them from their proverbial responsibilities; And that person(s) can spend more time working on their lawn as opposed to trying to get you to stop working on yours.

Originally published December 6, 2021.

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