Survival of the nicest…

…? I don’t think so!

This is kinda continuing on from yesterday in that I’m hoping I can help boost some self-confidence and get someone thinking about how they choose to react to life. That someone may just be me because I have my moments too and get just as much out of these pep-talks as anyone!

People are selfish. In general, the human race is only looking out for number one. It’s built in; Darwin didn’t call it Survival of the Fittest for nothing.

We all do it, whether we like to admit it or not. I hate reading books or listening to shows that emphasise the selfish nature of mental ill-health because, deep-down, I know they have a point. I don’t mean to be selfish but it can happen. It’s built in, just like my BPD. I can’t do much about either unless I learn how to perform neurosurgery on myself.

Putting that aside, however, I suspect most of us with BPD, anxiety, depression etc try our hardest to be nice and helpful rather than selfish. We go out of our way to help our friends and prevent other people feeling bad. We do stuff in order to be liked; right? *puts own hand up*

What do we get for all our efforts? A big, fat zero most of the time. At least, that’s what it can feel like to those of us prone to focussing on the negatives more than the positives *puts other hand up*.

Why do we bother? We get nothing but pain and misery for all our efforts!

Or do we? Or, more precisely, do we have to? Isn’t this another example of learning to pick a better emotional response to a situation? How about we try to accept that the human race is selfish and that a lot of people are never going to notice, let alone appreciate, our efforts?

That doesn’t mean you should give up being nice, just that you should lower your expectations over universal love, acceptance and gratitude. That way, when you’re ignored you choose not to let it hurt you and, when that odd person appreciates your efforts, it means all the more.

It works. I went to a meeting this week with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised when my loyalty and efforts were acknowledged and rewarded. I went in expecting nothing and was rewarded with plenty; major mood lifter! Even so, if I’d come out with nothing I still wouldn’t have lost out and wouldn’t have felt suicidal as a result of the outcome. It would have been expected and my mood could have catered to it.

I don’t mean you should become cynical and always expect the worst of people; just remember that the only person making a big deal out of your efforts is you. If you crave recognition, you need to let people know!

I hope this makes sense. All I’m trying to get across is the idea that you can control your reactions to negative situations. You can choose not to let the selfish nature of other people make you feel worse than you already do. It’s not easy but it’s easier than going through the rest of your life feeling unappreciated.

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