There has been a lot of chatter going on in my world about toxic relationships and being in what seems to be an endless struggletown in the volunteering community. And it sucks. It really really sucks. And it’s heartbreaking.
Volunteers give up so much to contribute back to the community. There are so many reasons why people choose to volunteer. Stephen from Happy-Medium nails it with his post on what is involved in being a diabetes advocate. For me, it’s because the diabetes community saved me from a dark place of isolation. I want to make sure other people with diabetes know that they are not alone; that they’re not broken; that they do have something to contribute to the community if they wish to.
But as much as the diabetes community has built my self-confidence to speak up, I found that it can just as easily strip it away.
I let the little things and the self-doubt get to me.
Like the few people who speak out only to stir the pot or because they had not fully understood the entire context of a situation.
Or the notion that we cannot let people see us falter as it’s a weakness. Firstly, we’re human and no one is perfect or strong all the time. Secondly, that’s what the community is there for – support when we hit the wall.
And for a long time, I held on to the idea that everyone should get along. After all, we are stronger united right?
While that’s true to some extent, for the sake of my mental health I also needed to acknowledge that not everyone will like me and I don’t need to like or agree with everyone. That’s just the fact of life. That doesn’t mean I won’t support the work that they are doing if it has some merit or have professionalism when working with them. I just don’t need to be buddies with everyone.
And I most certainly don’t need to smash through a brick wall to explain my actions to others if they won’t listen. Especially in the online space, it’s easy to get swept up in something when someone is wrong on the internet. Perfect recent example written by Renza from Diabetogenic on a Twitter shitstorm that occurred during ADA.
I realised that I’ve been harbouring a lot of negativity recently. And this video shared by my amazing friend, Helen from Recycled Interiors, reminded me that I really don’t need to be. I need to set boundaries to distance myself away from toxic relationships and tin foil hats and surround myself more with those who are supportive, honest and genuine.
It’s time to look after me.