Stop basing your feelings off of others damn it

Flickr Credit: Wrote

So I’m about to embark on the longest journey of my lifetime…and I’m not freaking out. Quite frankly, the fact that I’m not freaking out is kind of freaking me out a little! Well not really, but I think it’s a bit strange. Mostly because everyone around keeps asking me if I’m excited, nervous, anxious, scared, worried, and all of the other emotions that would arise in this type of situation.

My conclusion is that I’ve done a lot of work on learning how to live in the moment and enjoying what I have right here, right now. In this case it’s my friends and family. I won’t be seeing some of them for four months, and most of them for about a year. I’m trying to focus on the important things before I leave: (1) spending time with them (2) doing all of the little things (immunizations, etc) that need to be done before I go (3) earn as much money as I can in the next three weeks.

All of this makes me think about a different kind of peer pressure – emotional peer pressure (EPP). Remember that song O.P.P.? “You down with O.P.P.? Yeah you know me” Just thought of that for some reason. Damn that song was popular, and it was about being a home wrecker. Gotta love what makes the hit list! Anyway, we all know about the normal kind of peer pressure where your friends try to get you to do something that you’re apprehensive to doing. That type is obvious and you can easily spot it, but this other kind (EPP) is a bit tricky because people aren’t overtly telling us what we should do or feel; it’s more of an implied thing. Yes, there’s obviously an emotional aspect to normal peer pressure, but what I’m talking about with EPP is being influenced emotionally (changing the way we feel about something) by somebody else when we naturally wouldn’t have felt that way, based on how we normally operate and function in the world.

Take the example of me not being freaked out about leaving the country to live somewhere where I’ll need to quickly learn the language and will be living with a family that I don’t know and teaching English in a place that I won’t be assigned to until I get there. Some people would freak out about that and some wouldn’t. I am not. But, if I fed into everyone around me telling me (in one way or another) that I should be freaking out, then I would be taking on emotions that would have never been there in the first place. I would be taking on O.P.E. – if you guessed “other people’s emotions” then you obviously loved that old school rap song…and I applaud you :-)

We, as humans, do that all the time though. Other people tell us their opinion on what WE are going through, and that opinion is often times what they would feel if they were in our situation (which they’re not). That does not mean that you should feel that way! No way Jose, you are your own person with your own feelings and your own way of dealing with things, and there’s nothing wrong with the way you do it. Now, if you don’t like the way you think, feel, or process things and want help in changing that, then yes definitely seek advice (from professionals, not friends) and change that for yourself. Otherwise, let those people deal with things they want to, and you deal with things the way you want to. Deal?

  • Leslie DUTTON

    Deal! Well thought out and well written!
    I wish you all the best and have a safe trip!

    • Jeff Friend

      Thank you Leslie, I really appreciate the well wishes!!!

  • Jaime Munoz

    Jeff, wishing you well on your trip, it is going to help expand your horizons, I thank you for the good times we have shared. I hope we get together again for dinner before you leave on your trip! :)

    • Jeff Friend

      Jaime! Thank YOU amigo! You are one of a kind (seriously) and I know we’ll be friends for a lifetime. Hasta luego!

  • Shannon

    Jeff, I’m so happy for you! I’m all about adventures in life. Your new family will (more than likely) embrace you and thrive in teaching you the customs, culture and language.
    I agree, there is nothing to worry about and we’ll be here when you get back 😉
    Enjoy, be safe, and make some wonderful memories.
    Cheers, Shannon

    • Jeff Friend

      Hey Shannon, thank you so much for those words! You guys are so awesome and I’m so happy to have met you! I’ll see you when I return!

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