I hide notes somewhere I will likely forget about for myself to find in the future, and I post reminders where I need to look often: mirrors, car windows, the inside of folders, and on the walls.
Leaving myself reminders helps me focus and keep on track. Leaving notes for the future puts things into perspective and makes me appreciate how far I’ve come or what I need to work on.
I tend to write things off: pain, stress, anger. I have found that writing things down, especially in notes to myself, helps keep me sane.
write-off (noun): a reduction in value; elimination
If the food is undercooked and gushing with blood, I will pay for it and eat something else when I get home. If a friend asks me for ridiculous favors, I will always say “yes” while internally screaming “are you kidding?” If someone is walking in the cold, I will give them a ride and whatever snack I have in the car. If my boss asks me to come in on my day off, I will cancel my plans and go. If someone who has wronged me says they miss me, I will allow them back in my life. If someone borrows my things and never returns them, I won’t say a word. If someone’s card is declined at the store, I’ll step up and pay their bill.
It is the blessing and the curse of being a bleeding heart.
bleed·ing heart (noun): A person considered to be dangerously softhearted
There’s one thing you should know about being a bleeding heart: it is generally synonymous with “broken heart;” people do not return the favor.
It feels good to help other people, to a certain extent. It becomes a problem when I am doing things not because I want to, but because I feel obligated to. Once a person sees they can take advantage of you, they continue to do so. Most people who know me will introduce me as, “Audrey is so nice. She’ll do anything for you!” It makes my eyes roll into the back of my skull every time because what they often mean, maybe without even realizing, is, “she’s really handy to have around because she’s a doormat.”
door·mat (noun): a person who is the habitual object of abuse or humiliation by another
My notes to myself become my ultimate pep talk. I know what I need to hear and in these notes, I give myself advice and convince myself to say what I need to say. A note to myself may be as simple as, “Say ‘no’ to ____ and here are the five reasons why you absolutely cannot do it.” When I write something down, it becomes more definite.
The notes that I hide for myself help me reflect once I’ve found them, which is anywhere from weeks to years later. It is sort of like keeping a diary; upon going back and reading what you’ve written in the past, you have the ability to gain new insights and contrast how you felt about something as it was happening compared to now.
Notes are a good pick-me-up and the difference between the notes and a journal is simply timing. I have to choose to open a journal and read it. With the notes, they’re either stuck in my face all the time or I find them randomly and unexpectedly.
The reminder notes bring me back and center my attention. They keep me driven and encourage me to speak up. The hidden future notes take me by surprise and give me that necessary slap in the face.
slap in the face (phrase): an unexpected rejection or insult
I need that occasional slap to say, “Hey, you made it! You’re capable! You can do better! Stand your ground!” I think most people need that slap in the face now and then, and often don’t get it. It keeps me structured and in touch with my emotions.
How do you get it out on paper and what does writing do for you? Do you have any tips for drying up a bleeding heart? I’m always looking for quirky new ways. Let me know in the comments section.
Spring 2015 Intern