Hey Travel Family,
A few days ago I read something that really struck a chord with me. Funnily enough, it was shared by Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Twitter. Sharing advice bestowed on him by his grandmother, Gillum tweeted, “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.” The words lodged in my brain, gently at first, but as my subconscious mind began to work through them, the sentiment grew and it became all I could think about for a good day or so.
Sharing videos on YouTube, my personal thoughts and written guides here and photographs on Instagram and Facebook, Matt and I unintentionally create a lot of different places for people to criticise us. But uninvited nastiness doesn’t just happen online, it also happens in real life. Like that nasty co-worker who seems to have it out for you, that one toxic friend that says things that make you feel bad about yourself or the family member who continues to criticise you and cannot be reasoned with. Those people take many different forms in our lives, from anonymous internet trolls to people we know. But, they all have one thing in common, they belong to a group we won’t ever be able to fully avoid.
You could stop using any form of social media and the internet, throw away your phone, quit your job, move to the middle of nowhere, buy a bunch of pets and never have any human contact ever again. Which, now that I’m thinking it through, actually sounds kind of amazing and all my social anxiety/introvert fantasies come to life. But, for the vast majority of us, that really isn’t a feasible option. We have lives, friends and family, the jobs we need and we live in a world where a lot of our information comes from social media.
That’s why this pig wrestling concept is so great and why it’s stuck to my mind like glue. Because, in a world where hatred seems unavoidable and can weigh so heavy on your heart, it can sometimes feel inescapable. For me, that kind of thing creates what my good friend, Laker, describes as a sort of ‘cosmic depression,’ where you begin to spiral into this dark pit of questioning the innate good of humans. It’s the kind of rough mental path you usually find yourself walking on a Sunday evening after two glasses of wine.
In all seriousness though, it does get to me sometimes. I find myself feeling like the world would just be so much better for everybody in it if people were just nice to each other. But, I can’t control that. Nobody can. The only thing I can control is myself and even that takes a lot of hard work and focus. As we all know, sometimes your emotions take over and you end up doing something crazy like loosening the wheels on that co-worker’s chair or getting into an all-out fight with that bad friend or family member.
Somehow, it seems like standing up to them and fighting for ourselves will make us feel better. I don’t know about you, but it never makes me feel better. I’ve had people comment the vilest, ignorant things on our videos, photos and posts here. Sometimes they make me so angry I can’t help it, I write back to them and either unleash my fury or try to, politely, show them why they’re wrong. No matter what approach I take, it never ends well. I just end up feeling worse because now, this thing that, for them, was just a quick comment typed online, has now entered my world. I’ve let it in and helped it grow by giving it my time and attention. It’s under my skin and I’m thinking about it.
Worst of all, that’s exactly what that type of person wants. Their sole purpose was to upset you, whether they were acting intentionally or projecting their own crap onto you subconsciously. Either way, as soon as you engage with them, their behaviour has been rewarded. I’ve done it so many times I couldn’t even count. I’ve been baited by awful co-workers time and time again. I’ve been sucked in by bad friends and family members. I’ve been lured by internet comments and felt I need to defend myself because I’m not the things they say I am. At that moment, I give my worth to someone else, even if it’s just a small piece of it. I give their behaviour and comments power, allowing them to hold enough truth to infiltrate my heart and mind.
I’ve chosen my words carefully here because I truly do believe it is something I allow to happen. I don’t believe anybody can make anyone feel anything.
While we cannot control what other people do, we can control what we do. I can control what I do and you can control what you do. I can’t stop people commenting horrid things but I can block them and choose not to engage with anything negative. I can’t stop a bad friend or family member being cruel but I can cut them out of my life and choose not to have contact with them. At least until they sort themselves out and become the kind of person I want in my life. I can’t control a mean co-worker but, given my only co-worker now is also my husband, I can tie him up and lock him in a cupboard for a day or two.
When someone attempts to bring negativity into your existence, you are not automatically bound to them or it. Their words do not automatically hold truth and, just by existing, they do not deserve or require your time, attention energy. You are not required to respond. You are not even required to acknowledge it or maintain any kind of connection with that person.
That’s why Andrew Gillum’s grandmother’s words are so perfect. Because in a split-second moment where you could potentially end up feeling bad, you can choose, instead, to remember her words. I don’t know about you, but it gives me a bit of a laugh. It changes the situation from feeling like a big deal to being nothing! I know I’ll still have slip-ups and moments that get to me, of course, but I also know I’ll be better prepared and able to avoid more of those yucky situations than before. So, the next time someone tries to bring their negativity to you, just remember, stay out of the mud!
Just quickly, on a personal note, the past week has made a big difference for me. After a few rough weeks back-to-back I’m slowly but surely starting to feel like myself again. I’ve just been taking each day as it comes, resting and recharging, listening to my mind and body and trying to do all the little things that make a big difference. I feel like I’ve had a few little victories this week that really perked me up – just small things that made all the difference which, coupled with a whole lot of rest and downtime, have me feeling more energised and inspired. One day at a time though, I don’t want to burn myself out again before the end of the year!
If you missed it, our new video is up on YouTube! It’s a brand new luggage review so be sure to check that if you love those. Also, this week coming up, Matt and I are headed up to Longreach for a few days of fun in the country and I’m really excited about it. I’m going to try something new with the video we make, it’s a bit of an experiment and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.
I hope you’ve had a great week and have something lovely planned for yourself for the weekend. Make sure to take care of yourself and I’ll see you again right here, next Friday.
Love, Phoebe xx