I am in competition with myself.
Each day I try and be a better person than I was the day before.
Those close to me, and those who have followed this blog will know why I grew up striving to put right everything that others saw as faults in me. What started as self-preservation grew into a beast which often threatens my peace of mind if I leave it unchecked.
I have been struggling with this again over the past few weeks.
On one hand there have been a flurry of character observations, some from well-meaning people, others from those aiming to cause damage. It makes me smile, but amazes me that people think I have lived with myself for almost 46 years and not noticed the collection of character flaws I wear around my neck like dragging weights. People I do not care about the opinion of (and there are many who fit into that category), although I hear their words, and they may shake me for a moment they can’t do me any lasting damage. Believe me, I am and have always been my worst critic! Nothing they could say will ever compare to what I have said about myself.
On the other hand, when I meet people I really like and get to know them, to start with they like me too. I am wary, much more cautious than I ever used to be, but after creating a good first impression I let the walls down little by little. I can be amusing. I am a damned good and loyal friend. I really struggle NOT to intervene if someone picks at someone I care about. My natural and instinctive reaction is to step between them and trouble. Unfortunately there is also always that voice buried inside me which reminds me not to become complacent though. History has shown that once people truly get to know me everything else is prone to changing.
A wonderful few true people remain with me. I am truly blessed! They stick with me and put up with my spiraling times of crippling self doubt. They are gems, flashes of sunlight which brighten dark times. Those wonderful and happy souls bring smiles to my face, which can patch any superficial wounds of the heart.
Others change towards me.. and leave.
Here’s the thing though, because I am always trying to be a better me, I am always trying to improve myself. One way I do that is that if someone I care about tells me something which has been done to them upsets them even by someone else in the past, I try really hard never to do that same thing. If they tell me there’s something which they like, or some behaviour from me which makes them happier, I listen and try to adapt. So often I am told not to care about the opinions of others, but… surely we should do that to a certain extent. I see so much today about behaviour being excused, or that everyone has the right to be exactly who they are and it’s up to the world to make allowances. I know I take it to the opposite extreme because of my past, but surely there should be a degree of considering the thoughts and feelings of others?
I compete with myself. It’s a hard way to live. I have higher standards that I expect of myself than I would ever expect from others. When I am told by someone that I am not young, pretty or as good a person as they are, they are correct. When I hear that I could never be the same towards another as they are, they are completely right. I am me. That’s all I am and can ever be. I try to improve, I will get better than I am right now, but that really is all I can be.
The wonderful thing is that although that will never be enough for those who want more than someone like me can offer, for the right person… for the right friend… I will give all I ever can… and actually, I do think that although I am less than others may be, I still have so much to offer. I am a work in progress, but starting from a good position 😉