Some very personal thoughts about /trying less hard/.

Eric ZhangJune 5, 2022

A lot of sadness I typically feel comes from a kind of implicit resentment of people who I see “do whatever they want” or not “put in effort” in social scenarios and still be okay. Because there’s other people like them. And you meet other people and make friends and feel safe and experience life. That’s normal.

But what if you’re a couple standard deviations away?

When I put in extra effort to be more like someone or fit in it feels like I’m being rebuffed. That’s where anxiety comes from. Fear of dealing with uncertain situations. Don’t have the luxury to just “go with the flow” because that will land me in a mentally unhealthy state. Without people around us we feel: isolated, lonely, bored, paralyzed. And when you don’t fit into a group, don’t have the same values, they will undermine, discredit, and belittle you.

What if I’m not accepted by others?

It’s probably unfair. And people will probably not understand how I feel. But that’s okay I suppose. I don’t owe it to anyone to try hard for them.

Friendships shatter—so who picks up the broken fragments?

If I criticize you once, or we disagree on something, and you respond by blocking me on social media, that’s your prerogative. It will probably affect me more than it affects you, since you likely have more friends than me, and I am a smaller part of your life than vice versa. You have that power over me. But I don’t really want to cut myself on your sharp feelings.

What if I stopped giving people this power?

Recently I stopped responding to mentions on social media. I’ve also been very slow to reply to messages from people I don’t usually talk to. But I don’t feel any guilt. They don’t talk to me regularly anyway.

How can I live comfortably with myself as an individual?

By living with others, we can discover greater truths, experience new things, and expand our creative horizons. But genuine interpersonal relationships are a minefield. People are different and each individually beautiful. The only sturdy comfort I can really have is with myself.