A couple of people have told me I’m gullible.
Eh, kind of. At first, I was like *surprised Pikachu face*, but I look at it a different way.
I just trust people. I trust what people say is true, and that they mean what they say. I trust someone until they give me a reason not to.
Over the last few years, I’ve truly seen how people lie. White lies, sure, everyone tells those. But I learned that sometimes people really, really lie. They do shady things. They betray you. They blindside you. And, side note, my consumption of true crime doesn’t help me in thinking that people are honest.
I’m not saying I’m perfect. Far from it. But here’s where I’m going with this: just because people have lied to me or made me feel gullible doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trusting people.
I used to believe you could either be dumb and trusting and gullible, or cold and tough and cynical. And, hey, after experiencing the not-so-pretty parts of people, I considered being the latter. But I recently spoke with a woman whom I really look up to, and she told me that yes, you can be sensitive and kind while also being strong and not letting people walk all over you.
I used to think that if I finally got the courage to stand up for myself (I’m not great at it) and say ‘hey, you’re being unfair,’ or ‘hey, I’m leaving this situation because it’s toxic as hell,’ then I’d be disagreeable and not what people expected from me, because I’ve always been mild-mannered and reluctant to rock the boat. The thought of someone being annoyed at me terrified me, so I’d just let people keep pushing boundaries. The thought of someone saying bad things about me caused great anxiety. Basically, I really, really cared what people thought about me.
Now, not so much. I care about what my family and friends and people I respect think about me. A random person online or a former toxic connection? I couldn’t care less what they think.
I have had to, and still am, rewiring my brain to come to terms with that fact that you can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. And, that not everybody will like you. The truth is I don’t want to mistrust people. I don’t want to walk through the world looking over my shoulder, defensive in case there’s an attack. I don’t want to be cynical (well, maybe jokingly sometimes).
And I won’t be.
My point here is you can be kind, emotional, compassionate and caring while also standing up for yourself and calling people out, in a constructive way, on their bullshit. And you can also be a kind person and walk away from a toxic scenario. It doesn’t make you a bad or mean person.
Letting people take advantage of you will make you miserable. Standing up for yourself will make you respected.