I Couldn’t Come Up With A Title For This Post But It’s a Good Read, Though
“Why am I apathetic when it comes to receiving gifts as opposed to most people I know?"
I asked myself that in the middle of a conversation I was having with one of my co-workers about receiving gifts on Valentine's Day. We were both not fans of it, and NO, we were not being the “Grinches of Valentine.” At least I know I wasn't.
After I did some brief pondering three things came to mind.
I wasn't just feeling that way on or about Valentine's Day. I really never cared about receiving gifts on Christmas, my birthday, and on all those other days that are contingent upon being a recipient of gifts.
I did care at some point in my life, though. Growing up in a household where the income was little to none and or went on all the bills; I had to understand and accept that. I did. Thus, I had to suppress that care. It was a disappointing and a hurtful thing for me to do at young age.
Do you know how hard it was for me to smile during Christmas knowing that most of my classmates were going to come back to school from winter break with the new J's (Air Jordan's) on, and I had to go back to school with the same shoes and outfits from last semester?
I'm smiling right now because I can't believe I was so mad about it then. Ha!
Not all of my Christmases were "bad," but the "good" ones were few and far between. I admire my family for making sacrifices for me and my three other siblings even though they really couldn't afford to. I am deeply grateful for that.
Both of those realizations allowed me to realize that I was also using apathy as a defense mechanism. Which is a psychological strategy that an individual use to unconsciously protect themselves from anxiety arising from unacceptable thoughts or feelings.
I would numb my feelings and expectations around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday’s just so that I would not have feel anything - the disappoint and let down. But the thing about numbness is that it only last for so long.
So, moral of the story is I had gotten so use to not receiving stuff most of the time that I believe I grew apathetic in that area of my life, and it just stuck with me.
To be honest it is something that I’m working through. It feels kind of weird when people give me stuff now that I’m older, but I gratefully accept it and smile. This might sound cliché, but it is true, what has helped me so far is giving to others because I know what it’s like to not receive. Giving is actually a better feeling than the feeling of receiving.
It’s crazy how that works.