I’ve never been one to hang all my hopes on a half-thought out plan I form based on the fact that one year is giving way for another. It somehow makes things feel grander to start the on specific calendar dates – the first day of the year, the first day of a new month, the dreaded self contract that starts and restarts on Monday.
I do, however, enjoy personal projects and self improvement, so this is as good a time of year as any to contemplate a new project (or a few new projects) and see what I can do to put them in action. The was to succeed is to have a clear plan, one that can be followed. This means that having to rely to heavily on something outside of myself could sabotage my seemingly well-laid plans of success.
At the beginning of this year, I started a writing project that was meant to be a page a day of a fictional blog. I was supposed to do this every day of 2013. I didn’t. I admit that life got in the way, and doing a project that required constant internet access as part of the central premise, while I was traveling, and eventually when my life made a huge transition, made me feel like a failure for not following through. In reality, other things in my life took their turn at centre stage, and rightly so. It would have been awesome to say that I started something on January 1st and saw it all the way through to December 31st without hiccups along the way, but it wasn’t practical for how my life progressed this year. I held on for months before I gave it up in a search for ways to mend my heart, which in itself was a success, as I usually grow upset at my writing projects within a matter of days. I don’t know how to plan them out, and get frustrated. I wasn’t allowed to edit that project, so it did help me give up some of that control to which I desperately cling, so it served a purpose, even if I didn’t finish.
There are two aspects of my current life that I would like to address in the coming year: radical self reliance and the dangers of comparison. I’ll likely attempt to talk about both of these subjects on this blog in the coming months as my way of working through what they mean to me. I’ve identified that I have some severally unhelpful feelings when it comes to these topics, and my life would be much happier and more productive if I were able to detach from their negative aspects.
On Radical Self Reliance: I have spent a lot of my time on this planet alone. It is not uncommon for me to bottle up what I think or feel in favour of not rocking the boat, or because I simply don’t know what to do or say, so I remain silent. This doesn’t allow a lot of people to really get to know me unless they take an interest in doing so. As a result of being self sufficient, which is a trait I admire in myself, for I have an incredible amount of strength, I kind of fall apart a little bit when someone sneaks past the emotional castle walls I have built. Suddenly there is a human who understands and enjoys me, and I remember how good it feels to be around someone and share life moments. I’ve been known to feel alone in crowds, but when I am in a state of usually being alone, this sensation doesn’t phase me. When I suddenly have a very pleasant option of not being alone, being alone doesn’t feel right anymore. I begin to rely heavily on the other person to fill my social calendar and I grow very attached to this feeling of inclusion. It is my feeling that I grow too attached, and if this relationship happens to end or shift dramatically, I am deeply hurt by the absence of that specific arrangement in my life. It is my hope that in the current year, I will be able to focus on spending more quality time by myself, so when I find myself alone, I am okay with that. I am as good a person to spend time with as anyone else, and I shouldn’t feel bad because there is no one around to whom I can look for comfort.
This doesn’t mean that I am going to cut all contact with people I care about simply because something could go wrong and then I could get hurt. This does, however, mean that I am going to take a step back and not rely on them so heavily for my social and emotional needs. I am more than capable of fixing issues in my life by myself, and I am more than capable of filling time by myself. My preference is to spend time with those I enjoy, but I need to learn how to enjoy myself and the time I spend alone. It will also be a very nice feeling if and when other people make the initial move to set up a play date, as I often feel like I am the one constantly asking other people to occupy space and time with me.
On The Dangers of Comparison: We are taught, I feel, from a young age, to gain facts about the world around us through comparison. This is how we categorize a lot of the information we are exposed to daily. This is not at all a bad system; however, I have a tendency to admire positive traits in other people, and not acknowledge my own (be they the same traits or different). Without a second thought, the person to whom I am comparing myself goes from being intelligent, beautiful and talented to more intelligent, more beautiful and more talented than I am. They have these traits, and they are so easy to identify, that I simply must pale in comparison to them.
Meeting someone intelligent does not mean that I am stupid.
Meeting someone beautiful does not mean that I am ugly.
Meeting someone talented does not mean that I lack positive skills.
Unfortunately, those are assumptions the my subconscious made a long time ago. I may not be the most [insert desirable trait here] person in the world, in the country, in the city or in the room, but someone else’s possession of that trait does not diminish the fact that I have that trait as well. Although I have a competitive nature, I don’t so much compete as I forfeit any claim to my own personal strengths. This forfeit runs so deep in my nature that it is hard for me to even think of what my strengths might be. I need to figure out how to identify them, give myself credit for the hard work I put into my life. I expect a lot of myself, but I should also feel comfortable in acknowledging my achievements instead of dismissing them because it is just a given that I should be living to the incredibly high standards I set for myself.
To recap: This coming year, I want to be able to learn more about myself, learn to not attach to other people as a means of not being by myself, and to stop assuming that the positive traits exhibited by others means that I don’t also have strengths.