If I had been in an environment where I felt comfortable sharing my faults, my fears, my problems, my mistakes, and my questions with my parents and my friends...without judgment...well, I don't think that my life choices would have come out the same as they did. I think I would've been a much better person much sooner.
But hey, you live and you learn, and my life lessons have been instrumental in bringing me to where I am today. I hold no regrets at this point in my life.
However, where I am today is still very imperfect. After years of struggling to keep up a "perfect" face, I'm finally ready to break out and be openly imperfect. It's been years in the making. My biggest fear with transparency and honesty was this: "If I tell the truth about the 'bad' things that I feel and do, then I'll have to commit to changing. And if I commit to changing, and I fail, then I'm not only a failure, I'm a public failure."
This mentality - this fear of being mocked, judged, or shamed - has been one of my very worst character flaws. It's my de-motivator when it comes to exercise. It's my reason for attacking people I love. It's my reason for self-doubt and hatred that I harbored for years.
Enough of that crap. If I can't be honest with myself and with the people who care about me, I shouldn't bother to call myself a genuine person. I hate fake. I've been fake. Hell, I've probably been fake for more of my life than I've been real.
So in the interest of abolishing facades, I'm going to share a diary entry that I wrote during a very emotionally-introspective period this past weekend. I curled up against a tree and just thought, and wrote, about all the things that I don't like about myself, the things that are ruining my life, the things that need to change about me. I thought about the relationships I've sabotaged and the horrible ways I've treated myself over the years. I figure the first step toward change is awareness of the problem. So here's the list I came up with, in no particular order except that this is how they came into my head.
My Character Flaws:
- I assume I already know what people think of me, whether they've indicated so or not.
- I hold conversations and feelings in my head and I hold them against people even if they've never happened
- I push everyone away to see if they'll care enough to try to get back in
- I automatically assume people don't care about me
- I only feel guilty when I get caught
- I want people to like me, so I'm too nice to them, at my own expense
- I put everyone else's feelings before mine. In Sunday school, they taught us to practice JOY in our lives: "JESUS-OTHERS-YOU = JOY!" meaning put Jesus first, others next, and put yourself last. Great in theory, but I took it quite literally - taking it to the point that I never spent a moment worrying about myself.
- I never forgive myself for any mistake
- I'm lonely when I'm alone. I don't know how to enjoy my own company except when I'm enthralled in a project such as crafting or writing.
- I'm different around different people
- I do things I know are wrong, still do them, and then am disgusted by myself later for having done them. Yet I don't stop doing them.
- I am obsessed with punishing everyone for doing anything wrong. This is why I get so angry driving in traffic, or why I get annoyed when other people do thing in a way that I find to be wrong, such as parenting
- I please everyone but me - even people I dislike or owe nothing to
- I assume i'm on the outside of everything and I don't try to get involved because of that. I rationalize my lack of involvement by saying "I'm not a ____ girl" or "I'm not a real ____ fan" so I can't join the group.
- I hide my feelings from people who care about me because I assume they don't actually care. I will lie to your face and tell you that I'm fine. If you don't believe me, I will continue to lie. Only a few people have ever seen through the lie.
- I avoid being friendly to people (neighbors, church members, etc) for fear of becoming obligated to be around regularly/join a group/put on a fake personality/have people rely on me
- I assume that trying to behave better is the equivalent to being a fake, so I don't try to behave better
- I assume random behaviors and actions are fake in others
- I love attention. I live for it.
- I judge myself way too harshly
- I draw arbitrary lines in the sand, constantly, about everything.
- I HATE being wrong
- I avoid introspection because it causes change. Then I still think about what I need to change (There I go with the introspection! damnit!), but I don't change, then I feel guilty about not changing
- I don't do things if I'm told do them. I don't do things BECAUSE I'm told to do them. My feeling is, I don't do things to prove myself, so stop telling me to do them. I'll do them on my own. Basically, I'm a teenager.
- I thrive on a constantly-full to-do list. It's boring if there isn't a pile of stuff to do. I think I like to feel overwhelmed because it gives me purpose.
- I eat too much and get angry with myself for doing so
- If I don't have unlimited portions of food available, I feel like I'm going to starve so I gorge myself
- I like people at least a little bit less if I disagree with them politically
- I like to see people angry because that's the only time they're honest with me
- I share nothing with people, then get angry when they don't know me well
- I share too much with people, then get angry when they're offended or bored
- I want deep friendships, but I sabotage them
- I hold people to impossible standards in my head
- I hate complete strangers over stupid things like their looks or their public actions
- I get very angry over very little things
- I lose control of my emotions regularly and without regard to how it affects the people around me
- I abuse the life out of the people I love
- I pre-sabotage my own happiness by talking myself out of trying things
- I care too much about what people think, especially people I like
- I don't like myself sometimes. Other times I adore myself. Why?
- I intentionally espouse opinions that are the opposite of people I dislike, out of spite. They don't care.
- I don't discuss my feelings until I blow up
- I don't spoil myself ever, because I think it's selfish. But I think it's healthy when others spoil themselves.
- I only do things I want to do, when I want to do them
- I bite my tongue to avoid conflict when sometimes conflict is necessary
- I am disgusted by myself, and I don't know why
- I am not nice to myself. I speak to myself in a very mean voice, saying very mean things. I don't forgive myself.
- I don't know if I'll ever feel like an adult, no matter where I am in life. I resent myself for this.
- Responsibility terrifies me because I'm scared I'll fail
- I lie to myself in order to live with myself
Some of these are redundant. Some aren't character flaws. And some contradict and are still true. Some are only true sometimes. Some are so true, they're painful.
But, this is me. What now?