...or, the first of what I’m sure will be an occasional, but continuing, series of looks into my head.
I’m doing this for two reasons: the first is that it helps me to put things down in words. But, and this is more important, I need feedback, for reasons that will become obvious.
Whenever I’m in of those situations where life seems to throw a big rock at my windshield – and yesterday was the start of perhaps the worst example I’ve experienced – I always end up asking myself certain questions:
1. Why did the other person or persons involved do/say what they did/said?
2. Why did I react the way I did?
3. How should I have reacted, or should I have reacted at all?
And the final, most crucial question is...
4. What, if anything, can/should I do now?
I can’t give answers to any of these questions as they relate to yesterday, and that’s not why I’m writing this anyway.
What I have realized is that my answers to these questions are inevitably flawed. There are several reasons for this.
PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: One reason may be, simply stated, that I’m nuts....
But that, too, is beside the point. What I realized is that, for far too many years, my personal interaction with other people has been far too limited. Because of the nature of my work – and other reasons, of course – I spend the majority of my days, and all of my nights, alone.
When I wake up in the morning, I see the same old face in the mirror. When anything happens, there is only one person on whom I can rely for advice: me.
That being the case, I fear I have reverted to something like the state of mind a baby lives in: I react to the emotion of the moment. I feel a desire, a need, or pain and I want something done about it instantly.
The baby neither knows nor cares that Mommy might be busy with something else, or may have done something she did for a very good reason. It knows only now, is incapable of thinking about other people.
I don't have to think of other people for too much of the time, and that has caused my skills in that critical area to become atrophied.
I don’t like that about me.
At times, I can be very considerate. Even under great stress, I can stop, look and listen before reacting, and my reactions are the "right" ones. But I’m afraid I am slowly losing that ability, and I want it back.
This is more difficult to admit than you might realize. I like me, most of the time, and I would like to both be, and be thought of as, the good person I ought to be. I don’t like beating myself up, all the more when I hear two voices – both mine – in my head, one saying “you are a major-league worthless *bleep*, you fool,” while the other says “naaaah, don’t listen to him. It's all someone else's fault.”
I’m not sure which is right, or wrong. Or if each speaks a degree of truth.
So, since I cannot entirely trust my own judgement at this time, and because now, as always, I would like to be a better person, I toss this personal hot potato to you for comments and, I hope, suggestions.
Clearly, I would be happier about myself, and others would be happier with me, if I never had to ask Questions two, three and four again.
1 day ago