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My Struggles with Gratitude | Gratitude Week 6

I’m struggling with gratitude this week, so I’m sorry if you’re here to read all things positive. It’s been a rough week.

I’m so tired of trying understand the people and culture here. It’s exhausting. Whenever I meet someone new, there’s a high chance that that person is a douche. I seem to always be encountering ‘those people.’ The ones trying to act like they are better than everyone. Trying to prove to the world that they are the shit and belittle the people around them. Chances are they are having to mention to everyone how special they are, because nobody else is telling them they are. I get that it’s probably deeply rooted in insecurities. We all have them and insecurities mask themselves differently for everyone. I don’t get why as a human being, you can’t just treat people with respect.

Maybe I just have a low threshold, but I am growing a deeper and deeper resentment of the people in this city. Trust me I have been battling this for quite some time, and it’s been a losing battle. I have made some minor improvements. I’ve gone from.. I hate LA to LA is aiite. (Sorry if I’m generalizing. I get that different parts of LA might not be the same way. I have yet to know. I’m speaking from the experiences I have, where I live, and the pockets of people I meet.)

Lately, I’ve been retreating farther into a shell. I’ve put up all my walls. I will occasionally hang out with a handful of people. There are still good people. I know it. But for the most part, I’ve become a hermit hiding from the world. In this sheltered world, I can even fool myself to believe anything about the world and the people in it.

Despite all this, I know there is still much to be grateful for. Life is so temporary, and with each passing year… month.. day.. I want to make sure I appreciate what I have now. I wish I could say that I’m learning to appreciate the challenges of being exposed to different types of people. I know the saying.. I can’t change people.. I can only change myself.

But does EVERYTHING seriously have to be a character building exercise?

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I’ll leave you with this quote that has been convicting lately:

Community can be a terrible place because it is a place of relationship; it is the revelation of our wounded emotions and of how painful it can be to live with others, especially with ‘some people.’ It is so much easier to live with books and objects, television, or dogs and cats! It is so much easier to live alone and just do things for others, when one feels like it…. While we are alone, we could believe we loved everyone.” – Jean Vanier’s Community and Growth

So even though I don’t necessarily feel grateful now, I will say on behalf of future me… I am thankful for the struggles I have today.

This is part of the GRAD-itude link-up, a community of people practicing gratitude. Every week, I also post up my favorite gratitude quote of the week. This one is by Mary Oliver found via from casinos to castles:


How has your week been? Please tell me some positive thoughts that I can dwell on!

You can also see my other posts on gratitude by clicking the banner below:
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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Quinn

    I’ve totally been there. Unfortunately, I got wrapped up in the little game of i-am-better-than-you and it took moving to finally realize that my life is fine the way it is and I don’t need to compete with other who I call my friends. Frankly, it is exhausting to have those competitive types of friendships. Hoping you find your friend niche soon!

    1. esther julee

      yeah.. i think it definitely is just the industry we’re in. most the people we know are aspiring actors, aspiring directors, aspiring youtubers. i feel like most people we’ve met that have made it no longer have to act and talk so big, but most the others play this ego game. i’m glad we’re leaving LA in a few months. I miss the “normal” people not in the entertainment industry.. :)

      1. Quinn

        Leaving as in moving? Did I miss something?

        1. esther julee

          Yes! I think we’ve made up our mind on leaving LA.. but we’re not sure if we’re going back to Atlanta yet. All we know is we are not staying here and that gives me hope. :)

          1. Quinn

            I’m a little biased (love the south), but I vote to move back to ATL! I’ve never lived in GA, but my mom grew up in East Point and my in-laws travel to ATL a lot for the big Korean market. :)

          2. esther julee

            People are just nicer in the south! :) I don’t think people realize it until they actually experience it.

  2. Esther, you are not alone! I often find myself retreating because it takes too much energy to be around people…at least people of a certain nature. I don’t personally see anything wrong with enjoying being alone but I do think it’s important to have that small group of people that you can call friends, that you can create a community with, and that you can reach out to. I don’t have a large group of friends but rather just a few people that i’m extremely close to.
    What I love most about this post is that you are able to recognize that even these struggles are a gift. You’ll learn and grow from these feelings and experiences, and it will help create your future self.
    Thanks for sharing friend!

    1. esther julee

      Alone time is definitely great! And like we agreed books can be >>> people. haha I definitely know how important community is.. it’s just been harder out here. Partly because good people are hard to find and I also feel like most people we have been meeting prioritize their careers and don’t have time for community anymore. But we are also at fault because I know we haven’t fully committed to living here and to the idea of community in LA.

      I guess my biggest struggle here is.. that if we’re supposed to want to be like Jesus, he tells you to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you. I have such a hard time not wanting to stand my ground or wanting to retaliate. And I think a lot of why I retreat and what saddens me is the condition of my heart. The more people that I meet that are of a certain nature, the more hate I store up in my heart.

      Thanks for your words! :)

  3. I can’t remember where I read it but this is a stage of culture shock. It’s really awful. I’ve been through it and I’m sure most people who move around have experienced it too. Sometimes it’s just so…tiring. It’s overwhelming to continually struggle to find a way to be yourself and like people, fit in and find similar people. I often forget that my UK friendships are made up of decades of shared experience and friendship cultivation and I found it hard to find friends that were a)like me and b) like my friends at home. All I could see was the glaring differences. I really hope that I was right in suspecting you to be experiencing culture shock and that it passes quickly.

    Shallowness, fakeness and insincerity are difficult to stomach. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with those who have travelled, moved, reflected on life and their realisation that life is too short to pretend to be someone different. Welcome, it looks like, from the comments, there is a club of 4 similar people so far.

    Hannah x

    1. esther julee

      I think part of it is culture shock, but I also find it shocking to find so many people that go out of their way to be rude and condescending. I guess I”m not used to that from where I am from. People are generally nice, and you always run into the occasional a-hole, but it wasn’t every other person like it is here. The funny thing is I’m not going out and looking for them either. They just seem to find me. Other people that have lived in LA for a while just tell me you get used to people being jerks, and it doesn’t bother you anymore. I just find that a bit strange.

      I am still meeting some good people. They are few and far between, but they are there.. At least that gives me hope!

      1. Gosh yes! When you’re new to a place you give off a vibe. I’m sure of it. It happened when I first moved to Edmonton. Worst thing ever. But, I am not trying to dismiss your experience. It’s hard, regardless of whether it’s culture shock or not! Sending you hugs from Canada, apparently the land of friendly (lies, I tell you!). :)

    2. esther julee

      You’re also right though. I am finding myself comparing the people here to people back home, and that’s not fair either.

  4. Hi Esther! I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with what I used to call the west coast fakeness. Living in Vegas, I think I experienced a lot of what you are especially during the first year. But in the end, I found my people and they are the friends I still have and still keep in touch with even after being away for so long. I think it’s hard to practice gratitude when you feel a little lost, but I hope writing this and thanking your future self was helpful.

    Thanks for sharing my quote. :-) It’s a really powerful one. For me, it’s the one that helps me see myself as a survivor and not a victim. Hope you find your people soon!

    1. esther julee

      Yeah.. everyone is telling me that it takes 3 years to fall in love with LA.. and I can barely give it one!

      I really liked the quote, so I’m glad I found it through you. I hope years later I can see that this time is a gift.

      1. Doesn’t it take 3 years to fall in love with any new city or place? I have never been to LA but I know that I hated Canada when I first moved here. After 3 years, I couldn’t imagine living back in England. It’s all so weird – this moving around nonsense. For me, sticking with somewhere I disliked was incredible for character building…but I actually disliked the majority of that building process; I am blatantly not made for construction. I am the engineer who walks around afterwards and hmms and ahhs and says ‘yes, this will do just fine’.

        1. esther julee

          That’s probably true. Change is never fun. It always takes time to get used to new surroundings, new people, etc.

  5. Erika

    Esther — I just LOVE that you are a part of this! And that you are writing posts even when you’re not feeling particularly grateful!

    Man, oh, man! I can get what you are saying about L.A. I’m from the Bay Area so it’s pretty different, but I had my own issues with pretentiousness and the “eco-hipster-judgeyness” I felt from people — that better-than-thou wrapped in a recyclable wrapper, you know? And I know some of that are my own projections and observations, but even if that is the case, we still have to acknowledge our feelings about it.

    I’m on the fence about that quote about community. I feel like… maybe there are different places for us at different stages of our lives. Maybe sometimes we need a more nurturing community and other times we need a community that stretches us, that forces us to grow in ways we might never before.

    Still, I totally relate to this: “But does EVERYTHING seriously have to be a character building exercise?”

    I loved the honesty in this, for real! Thank you for sharing!

    1. esther julee

      i really struggled with even writing a post this week about gratitude, because I was .. am still angry. I know I shouldn’t let this eat away at me. I also know that it’s not completely fair. Like you said, some of it is from my own projections. Part of me never would allow me to fall in love with LA. It’s not “home”. Either way.. community is not something easy to find here.

      I’m not sure if I 100% understand what you’re saying here about community. But if I understand you correctly, I do think there are times for personal growth and also times that the community gives to you and reaches out and pursues you. I, personally, find it extremely difficult to ask someone for that pursuit. Maybe it goes back to not being able to receive gifts from people.

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