To The Ones Who Are Trying So Hard

To The Ones Who Are Trying So Hard

And to the ones putting us down.
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To the ones trying so hard, this is for you.

To the ones who feel as though they have hit rock bottom and no matter how hard they try they can't move forward, this is for you.

I'm done. I'm done trying to please others. I have spent my entire life putting others' happiness before mine, and enough is enough. Every day, I try to make a difference within my organizations and school. Sometimes, my work gets noticed and is appreciated. Other times - most times - my work goes unnoticed and I barely receive a "thank you."

Why should I continue to try my hardest if it is getting me nowhere?

Everyone keeps telling me "It'll be worth it" or "your time will come" or "it'll all pay off in the end." But what if it doesn't? What if I all of my actions right now won't matter in the future?

Every day, I question my actions. I question if anybody actually respects me or if anyone appreciates the effort I put in.

Sometimes, you just have to say "I'm done."

I'm done trying to please others. I'm done sharing my personal story to try to make others relate or not feel alone. In reality, nobody cares. Somebody may sympathize with your story, but it does not change the way they look at you. It does not change the disrespect or dishonor they have for you.

In this world, it's okay to be selfish. In fact, it's good to be selfish. Worry about yourself. Only you can create your own happiness. Only you determine what happens to that happiness in bad situations.

Other's viewpoints of you are tarnished and formed by rumors and lies of those who wish they could be you. Do not believe what others say. I know it's not easy; it is something I struggle with every day. Only you know who you are.

I know I am strong. I am caring, loving, trustworthy, and a hard-worker. I am passionate and dedicated. I am straightforward and honest. I do not appreciate lying and tainted morals, though to others, it may be their normal. I do not appreciate those who hate for no reason. I do appreciate those who try to find the light in every situation.

I know who I am, and if others want to start rumors or lies, go ahead. I know who I am and the people I truly care about know who I am. Your false opinion of me is invalid and you are just spreading lies to gain more attention for yourself.

Those who start rumors and spread lies do not have their priorities straight and need to sit down and put more effort into building themselves up rather than putting others down for their own amusement. Do you enjoy watching others' lives crumble to pieces because of a rumor you started? Do you enjoy seeing people cry and hurting them and making them question their self-worth? Do you?

I am here to say I am done. I know who I am. I know my worth. I'm done trying to please others because it is ruining my own happiness, and that is not okay.

I'm here to tell everyone who is questioning their self-worth, you are amazing and you are worth it. Do not listen to those around you; their opinions are invalid and false. Only you can determine who you are. Your opnion is the only one that matters.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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No, PrEP Shouldn't Be Used As A Replacement For Condoms

PrEP has signified a whole new level of options for safer sex. But should guys trust it enough to give up condoms?

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For over thirty years, medical experts have been searching for a cure to the AIDS virus. While a cure still hasn't seen the light of day, a new prescription drug has provided another option for safer sex.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily dosage of Truvada®, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine (two HIV medicines). It can only be prescribed by a health care professional and is intended for those at a higher risk for contracting HIV.

"Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%," according to the CDC website. "Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%."

With such a bold, new development in HIV prevention, it obviously arises debate from all sides. One of the most interesting questions to come up since the arrival of PrEP, is whether or not it can be used instead of a condom. The CDC website clears this up as well, stating that the risk lowers, even more, when PrEP is combined with condoms.

Upon hearing this, one might wonder why an individual would take such a risk by not using a condom. It is often said that sex without a condom feels better. I can understand this point, but I think an important question needs to be asked in response. That question being, is a one-time hookup with someone you care very little for worth the risk? If God forbid you contracted HIV from a casual encounter, would you honestly feel that it was worth it? Would you kick yourself for not going a bit further and making sure all your bases were covered?

The Zakar Twins mentioned another reason some men don't want to use condoms in addition to PrEP. In their podcast, MyTwin Chat, they claim it is such a hassle to put on a condom and often kills the mood. This is a point that I have a hard time taking seriously. In the eighties and nineties, condoms were the only option people had to protect themselves. Yet, they still managed to have plenty of hot sex using them.

A claim like this also reeks of laziness and unawareness. Real life is not like a porn scene. So many things can happen during sex that can kill the mood, even without a condom. Sometimes shit happens, literally and figuratively. One partner might need to switch positions because they're uncomfortable. Maybe one partner has to stop to use the bathroom. Sex can be clumsy sometimes and it's often imperfect. This is a reality we can't avoid.

Young gay men of today are quite disconnected from the struggles gay men went through in the years when AIDS was called "gay cancer." People in their twenties don't know what it feels like to watch all of their friends die one by one. They don't know what it feels like to be told on their deathbed that they deserve this because they chose a devilish lifestyle. They don't know what it feels like to fight for treatment and medical testing. All we know is a world where AIDS is no longer a death sentence and hookups are at our literal fingertips. So it's no surprise to me that many people take that progress for granted. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.

We should have all our bases covered before engaging in a sexual act. We should have the self-worth to turn someone down if they're not on board with that. We should remember how we got to where we are today and not take it for granted. Self-care, self-worth, and self-reflection. Those are three simple tools to enrich your life as well as your sex life.

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