Shattered glass can be taken to mean several things: bad luck, destruction, chaos. To me, however, it signifies clarity. The renowned comedy series How I Met Your Mother aired a scene in which the main characters point out the subtle flaws and imperfections they had previously overlooked in each other such as loud chewing, overly correcting someone's grammar; as they did so, glass shattered. As humans, we have a tendency to idealize our peers and loved ones, and while doing so we disregard what makes them so innately human: their flaws. It has only been until recently that I've noticed this same glass-shattering effect when viewing myself and my peers.
I have never been cynical, and continue not to be. The peak at which my vision was metaphorically at its most impaired was during my year-long relationship. My self-image became distorted and I started to weigh my partner's needs over my own. Personal and familial issues became prevalent, and in my mind, my own issues were completely incomparable. Taking on someone else's problems felt easier than taking control of my own, and so I compartmentalized them into the deepest corners of my mind. Similarly to how water takes on the shape of its container, I readily repurposed myself into an emotional support system. Externally, I attempted to mimic the image of a perfect person, a perfect relationship, and an unrealistic standard I had to measure up to, which I later realized was unattainable. On top of putting myself on a lower spectrum of importance with my significant other, I also saw myself as beneath my classmates. With the pressure that already accompanies any student during their junior year, it didn't help that my go-to was to compare scores, extracurriculars and general levels of confidence with my peers. I constantly felt the need to meet the unrealistic expectations that I had created and lived in a repetitive loop of anxiety.
I found that gaining perspective was the best way to see things more clearly. I had previously isolated myself from my peers because I put so much energy into my relationship that I was drained when it came to giving myself my undivided attention. No amount of support coming from my significant other or even my family was enough to take me out of my current state because I never faced the root of the problem: my own self-image. I expanded my circle of peers and joined the track and field team to have a distraction as well as an outlet for my frustrations. Additionally, I sought out professional help and began seeing a psychotherapist. One of the hardest steps one can take is to admit to themselves that they require additional help, and it was a step closer I took toward experiencing my own broken glass effect. Resolving my issues and diagnosing my mental state felt like an entirely new sensation; like a breath of fresh air that circulated through my entire being. That entire year and throughout most of my adolescence I felt as though something in terms of my own self-discovery was missing. Looking inward and analyzing rather than suppressing is something I now know will improve my interpersonal relationships, problem-solving skills, and overall mental state.
Sometimes it is necessary to go through the bad in order to experience the good, and even more important to admit that there is an unresolved dilemma at hand. A stark contrast in my personality is visible among my peers due to my newfound self-sufficiency, strength in character and overall heightened self-worth. The glass is broken but now I can see so much more clearly.