I used to dread hearing that someone said something negative about me. The so-called observation of me used to sting and dependent upon what was said still does. However, life is constantly providing me with opportunities to behave more maturely despite what others are doing. Rarely will someone make a negative comment about me to someone else, and later follow up that conversation directly with me. Alternatively and even better, share their criticisms, condemnations of and about me, with me first…before sharing it with others in a futile attempt to gain supporters. So what does it matter? It is not real; therefore, I am not going to legitimize hearsay with concrete feelings, emotions or with God’s currency…time.
I understand that I rub some people the wrong way. I acknowledge that I have not always said or done the right thing in certain situations or towards others. I have been human and I have made my share of mistakes. I have been hurt and I have hurt others unintentionally. It is for these reasons that I am okay if there are those who do not like me based upon their individual experience(s) with me; as a mature adult, I accept that not all personalities will mesh. I am okay with not liking certain individuals based upon my experience of them also.
If you know me well, I do not strive to be a nice person. At all. I think of being nice as being on the same wavelength of being fake or as a desperate act of passivity. I do not find being nice as behaving authentically. For example, the act of being nice when some is behaving rudely and so as to not offend the bad actor, allowing him or her to exact this unacceptable behavior without reprimand or accountability. That is being nice. Nice is when you feel compelled to be muted while being antagonized by rude, crude, and tasteless behavior. And allowing this behavior to continue repeatedly and without consequence. I am not nice. I am not interested in modifying any adult’s behavior or changing them. I do have a set of standards and code of ethics for myself of which I have a responsibility to uphold, to ensure that I am treated in a respectful manner at all times. I am also required to extend the same level of courtesy and respect that I demand. That makes me a good person.
My goal in life is to be a good person…not a nice person.
I also try to be mindful of the energy that I project to others. The laws of the Universe guarantee that this energy will boomerang right back to me. Talk about being able to take what we dish out to others. I used to try to portray this persona of having it all together. I never wanted to show what I believed to be signs of weakness. I had to learn how to be comfortable with not having all of the answers. It was okay that I did not have my stuff together all of the time.
The problem with “know it all’s” is that it is very challenging to be in relationship with us. Largely because everyone wants and needs to feel as though they have something of value to contribute to those whom they love-this is just human nature. When we act as if we know everything all of the time, we impede others from feeling as if they can be helpful or reciprocate whatever kindness or goodness they have received from us. We prevent them from the gift of being “blessed to be a blessing.” Man or woman, everyone wants and needs to feel that they are needed at some point and to someone. By allowing people to love us, to help us, to hold our hand in times of trouble, helps preserve the beauty of humanity. It is cruel to push love and affection away. If you do it too often, it will be absent from your experience at the very moment that you legitimately need…or want it.
The hardest aspect of adult life for me is feeling comfortable receiving anything, including love. When someone gives me a gift, especially something of extreme monetary value or a significant act of kindness, sometimes I actually find myself feeling uncomfortable or dare I say…unworthy. This feels like an oxymoron because I am not a classic example of someone who has a low or diminished self-esteem. However, low self-esteem or self-esteem deficiencies can appear in so many different forms depending upon who the individual is. I feel like I am in the driver’s seat when I am giving because I am doing, which also means that I am in control. I never thought of myself as a controlling person however, domineering personality traits also vary in degree and form dependent upon the individual. If I have to wait or expect someone to do something for me…I am in a submissive position. Like being nice, I have a somewhat distorted perception of what being submissive actually means and how this applies to my life. The act of submission is not nor should it be a blanket or general practice irrespective of person or absent of good common sense. I am learning that it is okay to wait…to be patient with others and myself. This takes substantial discipline for me, who would rather pride herself as being an enterprising person; one who takes initiative, has a healthy sense of pride, responsibility, and self-worth.
I, like many people, can exist as I am a living walking contradiction. I want love, but the investment of time to actually let love grow inside of healthy, tested relationship or “real-lationship” scares me. I want microwaveable results when it comes to love, but I want the circumstances and benefits of a love story that has taken decades to create, cultivate and nurture. I want to have fun but on my terms; I want to change careers, earn a law degree, but I am not that motivated to take the LSAT again, apply to law school, etc. I know better and should feel embarrassed by this level of laziness and desire for instant gratification. I need to stop pursuing what I like in the moment and go after what it is that I really want. I know what I want deep down in my heart because I can feel it. I try to numb it when things, people, activities, my job, my house, my circumstances, my life, my this and my that. I know what I need to do and what I need is to be is courageous. I need to unleash myself.
I have been telling the same story for years. How I had an abbreviated childhood, became an adult-child before my time and how I never had the opportunity to do things that other adolescence my age were doing. Although this is true as fate would have it, this was also a good thing. Some of my peers at the time were having sex far too young and were succumbing to peer pressure to do things that they knew and/or were taught was not right. I have always been an independent thinker and though I was affected by what others were doing and I wanted to fit in, I did not allow these feelings to direct my path. I had a plan for my life much earlier than most children did my age because I never thought success to be optional. So many great people, chief among them my Mother, inspired me; therefore I had to achieve my own measure of success as soon and as often as possible. In other words, I had a goal to reach for and I had plans to be great. I think many people hear that when someone strives to be great, he or she seeks to be “better” than everyone else is. For some, this may be the case however for me, I never viewed life as a competition or similar to a piece of a pie.
Even with this “great head on my shoulders”, I have age-appropriate insecurities, desires and aspirations. I feel insecure more often that I would like to admit and I feel sad more often than I should. I keep going in spite of life’s challenges. I hope you are inspired to continue to do the same.