Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stop & Chat: Introspection - I Am Not A Good Person


I am not a good person.

The person I see when I look through a mirror is not the person I want to be. I see a bitter, self centered person. I see a hypocrite. I see a chameleon, someone so afraid of rocking the boat that she will change her entire persona depending on the group she's hanging around. I see someone afraid to challenge the world around her, unwilling to challenge herself, unable to rock the boat. I see someone full of that monster called pride, convinced she is somehow better than those around her while still playing into those petty games she claims to hate.

These character flaws are not things I'm unfamiliar with. Through the years I've convinced myself that I'm entitled to these flaws. I was a social outcast growing up, so it's only natural that I be bad at social interactions. It's completely acceptable for me to go days on end shutting my friends out with nary a word of what is happening or why I've started ignoring them. It's totally okay to stonewall people without a chance of closure or to explain why I might be upset with them. Because I have been mistreated in the past, it is okay to discredit any and all relationships I have. Because someone has wronged me in the past, I get to lord it over their heads whenever it is convenient to me. Even as I loudly claimed to myself and those closest to me that I was working on my flaws, I clung to them as if they were trophies I had earned because of some arbitrary trial I had been through. Even when others pointed these flaws out to me, I discredited their words because they had their own flaws they were holding on to. While their flaws may still be there, it shouldn't have lessened the meaning of their observations.

Heart to hearts with oneself can be ground shaking. Sometimes they're wonderful and enlightening. Other times, they're horrible and earth shattering.

I found myself in the latter during a very bitter series of thoughts a couple weeks ago. Thoughts that stopped me in my tracks and filled me with horror. Thoughts that shamed me, belittled those around me, and shocked those defiantly petty parts of my psyche into action.

"I can't believe she had so many people wrapped around her finger. They must not have been able to see her like I was."


Keep in mind that even through these revelations, I am still me, and memes do come to mind during everyday happenstance. In this particular instance, this meme came to mind as these thoughts occurred to me, albeit in a changed way. "Was I wrong about her? No, it must be everyone else who is wrong."

In that moment I found myself head to head with a lot of my flaws and could only feel disgust. Disgust at myself, disgust at my hypocrisies, disgust at the person I had allowed myself to become.

Coming home from this outing, I spent a great deal of time locked up in the bedroom alone. Michael was at work and I needed time with my thoughts. I challenged myself to point out, in simplest of terms, how I was not a good person. What made me someone I would not want to hang out with? Where had I failed in my friendships with various people? I went into great detail there. Where had I failed in my own life and actions towards myself?

Finally, I asked myself how I could start being a better person. I reached out to a lot of people. After a very distraught message to Michael about my own personal revelations, I set out to message several people that I had denied closure to. I confessed to my own shortcomings in our friendships and asked for forgiveness. For others who had reached out and not received appropriate responses from me, I promised better efforts should they choose to try and rekindle our friendship. To others I was still in contact with, I opened up about past wrongdoings on both of our ends to mend rifts I had placed by not being open.

I had a very real conversation with the two people I'm closest to (besides Michael) about where I am at in terms of mental health and we built an action plan around the possibility of me taking a dive south. This was a particularly big step for me, as I've never admitted to issues I've had with my depression until the moment has passed or I've found a coping mechanism. Don't worry, things aren't bad. I've just expanded my safety net for the first time in ten years.

Everyone who has responded to my messages has been incredibly receptive and open. I'm working on rebuilding those relationships while maintaining (reinforcing?) the friendships I've been lucky enough to make here. I have still had to turn down certain outings on days that I've felt worn down or out of energy, but I'm comfortable in the communication I've had with those people and the openness I've maintained about why I was unable to go.

In short, these past two weeks have been very eye opening. Lots of tears have been shed and lots of laughter has been shared. My pride is all but ruined. I think I'm okay with the outcome, however.

Thank you for letting me take this very unplanned and unexpected -but incredibly needed- break. I will resume my normal posts in the next few days.

6 comments:

  1. Thinking of you, Liz. As hard as what you did was, the rewards will be long lived. If you need anything, please let me know. Take care of yourself.

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    1. Thank you my dear friend! <3 I think I'll get through this. I know I have good qualities as well. It was just a shock to realize how much I had let those negative ones take over my life.

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  2. You floor me sometimes Liz. Reading this I immediately thought of my favorite quote from the show, The Office, series finale; Pam Beasley is reflecting on wasting many years being less happy than she could have been and wishes to help other women in her place. She looks into the camera: "Be strong,trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears and just go after what you want and act fast because life just isn't all that long." I remember being profoundly startled that this beloved fictional character telling me to love myself was the first time I realized that it was OK to do that.
    I know it's a different realization than what you've been having, but I feel it applies somehow. I hope so anyway.
    Also, no need for thanks or apologizing for taking a break. I'm sure we'll all still be here:)

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    1. I realized I wasted a lot of unnecessary energy being negative about certain things that didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. Or I let petty things snowball into grand slights against my being when they really weren't. Basically I'm an overly dramatic person. LOL
      I always liked Pam on The Office. She was such a relatable character.

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  3. Take care of yourself. I could have written this myself a while ago. Cough. OK. Twenty years ago. I always felt like I was a bad person because I wasn't who or what the world wanted me to be. Since then I've discovered that the world isn't always right. Some things I did work on (the chameleon thing - it doesn't allow you to be you). But others are just me, and they are OK. Best of luck to you. :)

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    1. It's been a hard thing, finding out who I am, who I want to be, and what from others should mean something to me. Part of me realizing that I needed to change a few things was realizing how I let something very small snowball into practically hating a person, even though I had other people that I was arguable less involved with do the same things. Somewhere I was willing to give one person more benefit of the doubt, and when I really dug into it I couldn't give a reason why - except that someone else along the way had told me "I don't like X, you shouldn't either" and I started taking it as fact. Funny thing is, the person who "convinced" me turned out to do the very same things I used as fuel for disliking the original person.
      Realizing how much of a chameleon I am was pretty discouraging. I have no personal identity. One group of friends would describe me as conservative, while yet another group would call me incredibly liberal. How wishy-washy is that? I have such a strong aversion to confrontation that I'll sit by quietly and let others convince themselves I agree with them. I'm trying to find ways to let others of different opinions in my life while not compromising who I am. It's harder than I thought!

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