I compartmentalize really well.
In my past, this has had a crippling effect on my development. Hurt, anger, bitterness, fear, bad decisions, horrible consequences, pieces of my personality –everything had a little box in which I could store it, lock it up, and never deal with it again until it suited me. You can imagine what I was like, face falsified with glittery eyes that did not ever quite smile. I walked around as dangerous as any suicide bomber. My stuff was packed so tightly, squeezed in over years so long and damaged, that I would sometimes fall apart into crazy.
The time it took me to unpack all that left me absolutely emotional and spent. A few years of people taking hit after hit of my personality swinging in the opposite direction of uncaring and cold to sensitive and ready to fight all the time. Every NO that I had never spoken found its voice in the rapid ease of the nos I spread around like confetti. I was hell bent on protecting my newly forming self value at the cost of my friends and family. I still had no peace–just a desire to be who I had always wanted to be and do everythong that I had not done. No matter what I was feeling, every feel that I had never felt wrapped itself around my expressions, amping me up to intolerable levels.
I have finally begun to even out. I find myself compartmenalizing again–only this time storing away offenses until I can sensibly move through them. I know this seems crazy on the surface, because why would anyone push past what should offend them? I’ll tell you why.
Not everyone has hit the curve of healing that I have. People are on all sides of the spectrum of pain, recovery, and healing, and these different places color how folks respond to any and everything–including me. Something that is so simple and straightforward to me can be totally emotionally loaded for someone else. It is my responsiblity as someone who has experienced personal growth and healing to make room for those who have not.
Does that mean I have to take crap? Sometimes. But winning the day means choosing carefully how I respond to that crap and adjusting. Does that mean I have to become a punching bag for others? No. But I can protect myself most effectively by not taking on other people’s weight and getting caught up in their emotional meltdowns.
In order to keep your sanity in an increasingly insane world, you must remember that you will have hurting people around you always. You can keep getting offended over and over, you can shut down completely and be a jerk to shield yourself, or you can learn to walk with as much equanimity as possible. I have chosen the last–to remain even in a world full of flux. And my life is all the better for it.