In reading my journal entries from last week, the issue that stood out most to me was the idea that whether someone is complimenting me, or ignoring me, it should have nothing to do with how I view myself.
I can honestly say that if I could figure this bad boy out, I would have over half of all my issues resolved. It's always been such a large cloud over my existence. Ever since I was little, I have always felt fine about myself. Almost too fine. But then I inevitably let my interpretations of how I think other people view me, trump my own opinions of myself.
I remember when I was 5 and my mom was getting us ready for family pictures, she put me in a yellow dress with giraffes and I was so pissed that it didn't have a waistline. It made me look boxy. So i took a belt and put it around my waist. My mom did not let that tacky trick fly. Any other day she might have, but this was picture day. I was bold, and knew what I wanted. No one had told me a 5 year old shouldn't care about waist lines, so I didn't know any better. All I knew was that I had seen it on someone else and liked it. As i grew older I let the part of me die away in proportion to the weight I put on other people's opinions of me. The people around me were into sports. If I wanted to fit in that's what I needed to do. Through various scenarios of me trying to express myself and being socially shot down, I started to conform. And I have to be honest, it's been hard trying to find who I am because conformity has a way of compounding over time just like any other universal vibration.
Granted, I am a Gemini to a fucking tee. I can be any type of person really, and be happy. I am laid back and open minded to a fault sometimes. But this lends itself to a larger evolving issue: I don't know how to speak up for myself. If I like almost everything, and can see almost every side, that means I can justify almost anything in my head. On the surface that's a positive disposition. But upon deeper evaluation I realize: I don't know how to put my feelings above others.
Now, before I continue. I by no means am selfless. Sometimes I find myself not listening when people talk, I do what I want to do instead of keeping commitments I have made, I take jokes too far. I hurt people and seem stuck up sometimes. But all of that is by accident.
What I am talking about is being in any given situation with a man or acquaintance, and having a feeling that I don't like what's going on, but being unable to identify why, or be able to say what I want to say. I clam up and just go with the flow, justifying it in my head as being "easy going.
I have watched my strong willed friends leave men open mouthed and pissed at the "audacity" they have to speak their minds. Rolling their eyes at them and walking away while I stand there wondering if that poor fellow's feelings are hurt.
Then I realize that drunk dude at the bar is going to get over it. Just because my friend walked away because she wasn't interested doesn't mean he is going to develop a complex, and if he does, that's his own fault.
Now don't get me wrong. I will give a guy shit. I will take him down and notch with a devious smile on my face. But that's not what I am talking about. I like doing that. What I am talking about is putting what I want ahead of what someone else wants because that's what's best for me. Even if that means I leave a man confused and a little pissed at the bar with two drinks to himself, I want my knee jerk reaction to be "that was best for me," instead of "that was best for him." Because in the end, he will indeed, get over it.
Which brings me to my ultimate point: none of us should let how anyone else treats us, change the kaleidoscope of how we see ourselves. I know first hand, from 29 years of experience, that if I let the goody too shoes make me feel like a slut, and the "bad crowd" make me feel like too much of a saint, and the quiet crowd make me feel too loud, and the boisterous crowd make me feel too boring, I will be running in every direction of my mind until I fall collapsed on the ground wondering if I should, indeed find a trigger to pull. I have let the interpreted reflections of how others react to me define me for far too long. By the time my actions, based on "who I want to be seen as" floats through my filter to them, through their filter back to me, there is no way in hell the depiction of who I really am will be accurate.
I want a solid idea of who I am outside of anyone else's validation but myself. Anything else is just interpretation. That man says I am beautiful? Cool, the next guy might not. That guy won't talk to me? Cool, there's a thousand reasons that could be, only one of them being that I am not good enough for him. I am tired of trying to wade through all of those reasons to come to a conclusion that has a 99% chance of being wrong anyways.
When my ex dumped me, he made it very clear he thought I was lazy and made wrong career decisions. I had just taken a job that made me happier than I had been in a while and I was waking up for early morning runs because I was training for a MARATHON. But to him, I would always be lazy. Because that's what his filter was set to. And try as I might - I can never change someone else's filter if they don't want it to be changed.
So here I am at 29, trying to find my voice. A voice to say no when I want to say no, and yes only if I truly want to say yes. Drawing validation of myself from myself only. Accepting compliments and irrelevance to my presence as what they both are - someone else's opinion - which ultimately should have no impact on how I view myself.