Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Not About Me

Recently, I've found some of my old insecurities creeping up. I had a few experiences that brought them to the forefront again and a sort of domino effect happened. I don't blame anyone for this - it's simply a reaction I'm having. The older I get, the more I believe that people don't "make" us feel a certain way. We're responsible for how we react and respond to others.

That's part of the problem with these old insecurities - they cause me to doubt myself, worry too much, and focus on the wrong things. So, instead of taking ownership of my behavior and my responses, I fret over other people's responses. I think, "She seems frustrated. Did I do something?" or "I don't think he gets what I'm saying. I should go over it again so he understands me." or "Does she like me?"

Whenever I find myself doing this, I realize my thinking is all reversed. My insecurities have made it all about me. I should think, "She seems frustrated. I should see how she's doing." or "I'm not sure we're understanding each other. I should make sure I understand what he's trying to say." or "I should get to know her better."

None of us our perfect. I'm certainly not. And I think the qualities some people love the most about me are the ones others hate the most about me. But, honestly, when I've applied the "It's Not About Me" philosophy to my life, this hasn't seemed to matter too much. While I don't want to be best friends with everyone I meet, I like just about everyone I meet with this attitude. I give them the benefit of the doubt, expect the best of them, and interact with them honestly. And, when you're doing this, other people seem to respond in turn.

With my insecurities and worries leading me by the leash, I've found myself involved in more misunderstandings, my feelings are more easily hurt, and I doubt my own intentions. Today, I wondered why I was choosing this for myself. What good is the atonement if I can't forgive myself? What good are friendships if I don't trust my friends to see the good in me? What good is progression if you're focused on the past?

I know that I will inevitably put my foot in my mouth in the future. I am sure to seem conceited or to be misunderstood. I will surely unintentionally say or do something hurtful. But my blunders don't need to define me - and they only will if I make them all about me. So, today I felt the need to express this so I could see it written out, acknowledge it, and move on. Ironically, this post entitled, "It's Not About Me" is written for me.


Keely said...

well put! You are a talented writer!!!

Mert said...

You're a MUCH healthier person than me. I've never been able to successfully adopt your theory. I can intellectually understand and internalize it, but I have only ever found fair to middling success in practice. I always end up with crazy person thoughts in the back of my head that say, “you’re ‘others focused’ intentions are still misunderstood, even if you have the best of intentions,” or “there’s something intrinsically wrong with you that can’t be eradicated, so don’t try.” Sorry, not trying to pass my insecurities on, just admitting them. Ironically, I can trace the onset of some of my worst and longest lasting anxieties and doubts back to my mission. At a time when others always seem to have ‘found their true selves’ and found freedom of personality because of this experience, I acquired some of the most shackling self doubts I’ve ever felt and never been able to fully remove myself from them. But maybe it’s my temperament. I’ve never fully trusted people; I came into this world with that attribute. I can remember putting people at arm’s length at a very early age. I say keep cultivating a sense of self worth that is built around serving others’ sense of worth—it is far and away what makes you the most uniquely you (as far as I can claim to be a credible expert of your personality and character :)). People trust you for it and they love you for it. Also, we come from a family steeped in anxiety-rooted issues, if you’ve found a solution or formula for extirpating yourself from these, I definitely say MORE POWER TO YOU—bottle it if you can, or slip it into some cupcakes. :)

Mindy said...

Ah, if only I was so healthy! It's just that I find that when I am too internally focused, no one's needs are taken care of. I can be an introvert and spend too much time overanalyzing and worrying. If I try not to worry about being understood or liked so much, my needs seem to get taken care of too. Tons of people would say I have not perfected the art of this. I tend to be passionate in my expression of everything, so I can come across wrong. This gets me in trouble. We haven't hung out much in person, but I'm sure you'll see it when you come to visit!

Mert said...

Funny thing, I'm always more comfortable with people who express their emotions more readily and are passionate. It's the people who weigh and measure their words and feelings that make me uncomfortable (even though I'm most guilty of this). I think you can trust passionate people--as long as they have strong moral resources. :) Passionate people always send the unspoken message to others that they've just been given them the green light to be themselves, because they're being themselves. You know that even if you offend or blunder in their presence you're much more likely to be forgiven because they'll expect that same. You should go back to school and become a therapist. You'd probably be good at it. :)