If they wanted to, they would…
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
A bit of a reflective piece after the last couple of weeks of impromptu writing. Time has moved on and I’ve managed to make progress on some of the thoughts and feelings I have been having lately with regards to my life.
One of the biggest realisations I have had over the past few months and years is simply as the title says;
If they wanted to, they would.
This is a double edged sword as you are also ‘they’ with respect to other people, so be prepared to think about yourself as well whilst reading this!
We are more connected than ever thanks to those wonderful ‘black mirrors’ we hold in our hands. They allow us to call each other, message each other and have video calls with one another pretty much anywhere around the globe. We have better contact and communication with our friends and family than ever before. It is a miracle of the modern world.
It’s become so ingrained in our culture that now there are people starting to rebel against it. I for one have deactivated my Facebook account as it wasn’t doing anything positive for my mental health and wasn’t giving me any happiness.
If I wanted to use Facebook, I would.
There are also people who are now trying to detach from their phones and messages because it can be overwhelming, causing anxiety in the thought of needing to respond or simply just because they don’t have the time.
If they want to use their phone, they would.
What I’ve come to realise with these modern forms of communication and interaction is that they are detaching from the real relationships and real friendships we have. In a way it’s more comfortable to keep people at arms length slowly spying in on their lives from afar than to actually meet them face to face and brave that real conversation.
This is one of the main reasons I have dropped Facebook entirely. I was already culling my friends list annually. I’d managed to get it to around 100 people. What I realised in going through this process was I kept saying to myself ‘I don’t see this person’ or ‘I text that personal almost daily’. I realised that some people I only keep in contact with through Facebook because it’s interesting to see where they are now. I wouldn’t actually want a conversation with them and probably wouldn’t want to meet up with them if it was suggested. If this is the case, why keep them around at all?
If I wanted a conversation with them or meet up with them, I would.
I’ve simply removed the temptation or lack thereof.
To all the other people. To all the friends and family who I do want to keep in touch with. They know where I am and how to get hold of me. My ‘black mirror’ will be happy to illuminate with your presence and I look forward to hearing from you.
But only if you want to, should you!
I’ve heard it both ways…
This is another important point.
If you want to do something, do it!
If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it!
Nothing is forcing you to do anything. You can make whatever choices you want and live how you want to live. Be comfortable in that.
But don’t make excuses for yourself.
I don’t want to go to the gym because of…
I am not in the right mindset for…
If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind later and doing it then. But you have to want to do something to do it.
I’ve recently made the conscious decision to give up alcohol until at least the new year. I don’t drink a lot, but when I do drink it’s often to excess. I feel awful afterwards and it has a huge impact on my mental health for at least a week or so. So I’m giving it up.
I might change my mind later, but for now this feels like the right decision for me.
I’ve also made the decision to join a gym and get a personal trainer. I always avoided this for whatever reason, but ultimately it was because I didn’t want to at that time.
Now is different.
I feel older. I feel unfit. Whilst I seem to have lost weight, I want to make sure as I enter the latter half of my life (People always question this; I don’t want to assume I’ll live a long time. 35 years to go is enough for me! Maybe even too many!) that I can enjoy it physically and mentally. With the book coming out and all my upcoming talks, some people might see me as a role model (just like the movie!) so I want to make sure I can show those people what life can be like when living with depression. Mostly though, I am doing all of this for me. I want to feel happy in my own body and I’m going to fight for it!
My main reflection on this point was with regards to my divorce and the pain I want through.
I know I’ve talked about it a lot, so let’s not dwell on it for long. It all comes down to the day that I had to ask for the divorce.
This is the important bit.
My ex-wife was struggling with her sexuality and the weight of the decisions in front of her. She was in internal pain and it was horrible to watch. Not once in the months leading up to the day when I asked her for the divorce did she actually say ‘I want a divorce’. That was left to me.
This really hurt because I didn’t want one.
I just knew it had to happen.
But there is solace to be taken here.
If she wanted to ask for a divorce, she would have done.
On reflection, this is incredibly powerful. It shows to me that the marriage was not bad. The partnership was not awful. I was not a poor husband. I was not a terrible human being.
She didn’t want a divorce.
We were just in an unfortunate circumstance where we were no longer compatible as a couple.
Whilst that pain remains.
There is no real fault in myself. She didn’t want this to happen. Neither of us did. We were just where we were. We wanted it to change and we made it change.
I still care about her. I probably still love her in a way. Not as I once did, but now in what you would expect from friends of over a decade. May she find her happiness.
We like giving people the benefit of the doubt. Heck! We like giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt!
We are always willing to make excuses for someone when they don’t respond or act as expected.
‘Oh, they’re running late, typical X‘
‘They’ve not responded to my e-mail or text message. Probably really busy’
I’m afraid to say that as with everything we’ve said so far in this post;
If they wanted to turn up on time, or wanted to responded to you, they would.
But you must also remember the counterpoint to this point.
If you wanted them to turn up on time because it’s that important to you, why didn’t you make it clear to them in advance?
If you wanted them to respond, maybe you should have prompted for a response or marked it as urgent.
This isn’t fault. There isn’t any blame.
This is about assumption.
One of the words I feel is become more and more of a swear word is ‘SHOULD’.
They SHOULD have turned up on time.
They SHOULD have responded to my e-mail or text message.
I SHOULD be married and with children in my mid-thirties.
I SHOULD have made it to partner by the time I’m forty.
Put simply; stop putting expectation on anyone, including yourself, if it is based on opinion, circumstance or situation.
People will do what people do and they will value themselves, their time, you and your time how they value it. You need to accept this, or at least make them aware of the difference between the values!
I have this a lot with my family. I’d like our relationship to be more one of family and less of business. More emotion and feeling with less strategies and plans.
It’s actually happening.
Life is a Four-Letter Word will be published during 2020. We’re hopeful to have it launched during Mental Health Awareness Week UK (18 May to 24 May).
I have until the end of September to finish the manuscript.
I’d like to believe I’m almost there.
Although I do keep putting off writing the references…
Then it’s likely all going to be about spooling up the marketing drive and jumping into publicity and press!
If you’re interested in helping me turn this into a reality, I would love to hear from you. If you’d like me to come and talk about your organisation, or come and share some of my experiences with your teams, please do get in touch. I cannot do any of this without you.
I can’t change the world alone.
For one thing I’m just too fucking lazy!
just another guy