Unless you’re an honest-to-God recluse, chances are you interact with people in your day-to-day life. Whether you’re hitting the books or working the grindstone, you’re going to have to deal with a plethora of personalities, and not all of them are so pleasant.

People complain. It’s just what we do. I should know, I’m one of these complainers. I still struggle with not expressing my annoyance at every little thing, especially on heavy news days. Now this may seem obvious, but it’s taken me a while to realize that not everyone wants, or needs to hear my ramblings on things that are completely out of my control. Shocking, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I bring this up because recent events have caused me to take a good, cold, hard look at myself and the actions that have led me to this path I’m currently on. In a sense, I feel short-circuited, vacant, and numb, but I’m making it a point to not let anyone at my place of work see this side of me. And believe me, it’s taking all the strength I have to keep my personal life out of my work.

Right now, there’s a whirlwind of emotion raging inside me, just waiting for the storm to calm. I have made a promise to myself not to cry about it, and there’s a constant struggle to keep the tears from rolling down my cheek at any given moment of the day. But no one else knows, except you reading this. And this is just the way I want it, and need it.

However, it has also come to my attention that some people who surround me don’t offer this same courtesy of keeping things to themselves to those who surround them.

Like I said, people complain, but it should be noted that rarely do they restrain. If you’re finding someone who just has to bring up the worst of the worst any chance they get, even though it’s patently annoying, it’s possible that they’re struggling with their own inner turmoil. Because sometimes, it’s easier to forget about what’s going on inside if you’re concentrating on the outside faults of others.

It takes a great deal of strength not to bring up the negative all the time. We all have our own baggage to carry around, and your issues don’t necessarily have to become everyone else’s. My mother always explained it to me thusly: If you had the opportunity to switch problems with anyone in the world, and everyone threw them into the center of a circle to pick, you would walk away with your own troubles and carry on living your life.

While people sharing their struggles can be beneficial from time to time, it’s important to note who is using theirs to inspire others, and who is looking for an ego boost. And more often than not, especially online, you’ll run into the permanent victims of the nefarious outside forces who just want to tear them down and not let them be great. If people continually harp on what everyone else is doing wrong, but don’t reserve that criticism for themselves, then it’s safe to say they’re not playing to their strengths, or at least not using them for good.

I believe we all have the power within ourselves to find our own strength. While it can feel good to receive the validation from others, we have to prepare for when we find ourselves alone on an island with no rescue boat in sight. And it’s in that silent reflection where you can really examine your path, and decide if it’s worth heading down or if another route can bring you what you want.

Also, don’t worry about me. The lights always come back on after a short circuit, just as long as you make the effort to repair the fuse box yourself.

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