This phrase has always had meaning to me, but lately it’s come to some higher importance. There are aspects of my life that have changed over time, whether it was deliberate or not, and there are aspects that I have struggled to change, but have failed thus far. They say that the first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge it. I feel like I’ve done that, but then what is the second step? I am quite cognizant of my character flaws, trust me. There’s no denial here. But fixing them has proved to be a challenge I’ve yet to overcome.
In addition to being involved in the process of my own attitudinal evolution, I can generally step back and almost view it on a time line. My opinions and perspectives have shifted over time, through circumstance and experience, and it’s almost like some of the beliefs I used to have were from a stranger. It’s like some other person that I don’t always recognize shaped my life, and that can be a scary realization. I look back and think, “What in the hell was I thinking?” Some of it was a lack maturity, I’m sure, along with the perspective that comes with those life experiences, that made me think, say, or do things.
So along that line, why have I been unable to take the same logical, detached approach to the things I want to change? There are two major flaws in particular that I would really like to fix, so should it not follow the same basic pathway? I have matured, become more patient, developed a more objective eye, and certainly a less judgmental one. Yet for all that quiet logic, I am still beyond vicious when I feel cornered, and I still have multiple trust subscriptions (as opposed to just having issues!). Both of these things are inherent parts of me, but I am nowhere near proud of them. I really feel like I need to change them, and I’m feeling lost as to how. I did make some progress in the realm of trusting people, and started to reach out to people. Bad move. I got burned, and found myself retreating once again. Kind of like the song lyrics: one step up and two steps back. At this point, I am relatively content in not reaching out to people anymore; instead, I let them come to me if they choose. But it’s still that next step where I falter. I still cannot manage to make myself hand over the trust anymore, and I worry that the lack that resides in me winds up hurting others. It isn’t their fault, but they take the hit anyhow.
The viper side of me has been here as long as I can remember. I can sit and analyze it all day long, tell you points in my childhood that contributed, explain why I feel the way I do, and therefore, why I keep a tight leash on my temper. But as we all know, awareness does not equate to change. The rage that lies within me is quiet most of the time, like a silent wraith, just waiting for an opportunity to escape. As a child, I did a lousy job of necessary restraint. If pushed over my tolerance limit, I answered with my fists, and generally without follow up control. As I grew older, my fists were stilled in favor of my words; but the damage done to the other person wasn’t all that different: the bleeding and bruising just happened on the soul instead of the body. I still had the power to wound, and wound deeply, and I still didn’t like it. I tried kickboxing classes: theory being that if I channeled the anger, I’d do a better job of keeping it in check. It worked to a point…and I still use physical exertion to clear my head when my temper threatens to flare out of containment. But I can’t say that the rage is gone, or that it doesn’t flare. Meditation helps too, but again, it alleviates the symptoms and not the underlying disease.
I do know the benefits of positive thinking, and I do try to focus on seeing the changes that I have made in myself. Many of them, I like, even if some other people don’t. And really, not giving a rat’s hindquarters about what other people think about the person I am is one of the changes I like. I grew weary of denying who I am, pretending to be what everyone else wanted me to be. I’m done with that.
So the people who matter know my flaws, and they stand with me anyhow. I’m grateful every single day for that, and for the support they give as I struggle to make the changes I want to make. As for the people who no longer find me good enough to be around them? Have a nice day, and please drive through.