Who’s responsibility is it to change the mindset of your family?
On that: is it a “responsibility” or a privilege?
I mentioned earlier to a friend how difficult it is to be around my family sometimes. The conversation went a little something like…
Him: “You’re such an optimist”
Me: “It’s a learned habit, 5 years in the making lol. Lil depressed Bella was like ‘if I have a choice in being optimistic or pessimistic…who the fuck would choose pessimism.’ And now it’s automatic! Changes your life making those small changes, but it was work. Everyone else in my family leans super pessimistic. Makes it hard to be around them often”
And then I got to thinking on that…
I’m avoidant. It’s a result of needing self preservation. I lean away from the things that make me uncomfortable, that trigger issues within myself. But in doing this…am I only prolonging my own healing?
What if, instead of avoiding family (that I love and miss and want to be closer to), I leaned into them with my optimism. What if I shared that with them, challenged their own pessimism, with the intent of it rubbing off on them?
Would this come off as me being on my “high horse,” or could it really change the habits of how they choose to operate on their day-to-day?
The idea of responsibility vs privilege when it comes to influencing others
I grapple with the idea of responsibility vs privilege because one is pessimistic and the other is optimistic, but that’s not all…
When I was in therapy, my therapist pointed out that I take responsibility for…everything. Anything that might need it, or even doesn’t need it, I step in. Which is a result of needing to do this in order to make sure shit got done as a kid. If I just did things, then I didn’t have to worry over whether or not they’d be done.
And she challenged me, and really reminded me, that not everything is my responsibility.
It’s not all up to me to change the way those around me think. But if I could do it, without being so far into it I felt it as a responsibility…what impact could that really have?
It always brings me back to when my cousin visited me in Colorado shortly after I moved here.
She let me know that my lifestyle, really, just inspired her. The fresh produce in my fridge, my love for my job, really what I had created by leaning into what I loved and truly enjoyed.
Shortly after she went back home to Wisconsin, she quit her job (the one she’d went to college for), and started at a daycare working with children. And even as recently as a couple of weeks ago, she told me she was still inspired by the fresh foods I had and ate, and she even made a lot for her now-pregnant self and her man.
And all I did…was nothing. I just opened my life to her and she gained something from it.
Just opening your life can create an impact in someone else’s
As someone who’s avoidant, how many people am I keeping at a distance who could react the same way my cousin did?
My little sisters?
..my mom? Who struggles with alcoholism and is trying to right her life again (edit: she is sober for a few months now, so proud of her!!!)?
I want to try to be more open. And hopefully with some therapy and intentionality, I can make that happen.
Those who know me well and are a part of my daily life (coworkers, friends), tell me I’m super positive, that I have a way of shining. Which I find interesting because it’s not how I usually feel, but that doesn’t matter, right?
If it impacts people, just being myself no matter how I perceive myself to be, then that’s a benefit to them.
Here’s to being more open.