All The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Things You Never Knew About Me

I’m hearing that transparency is a good thing, and that it helps people and inspires them. So before anyone starts to think I’ve got it all worked out, I’ll drop my trousers again and tell you about some persistent patterns that keep cropping up.

I don’t make a stand against people I love until my back is against a wall

I’m opinionated as all hell. At least that’s how it seems. It even seems that way to me, most of the time. But I have a very sneaky, unconscious tendency not to fight for what matters to me when my desires aren’t the same as those of my loved ones. If they not mutually exclusive, compromise is possible. But if they are, I give mine up, no questions asked. Because they’re not really needs, right? It’s not like I would die, okay?

I have a pathological need for people not to find me bossy or authoritarian

We’ve already covered that I have strong opinions, right? And I’m confident. I like to take charge. However, I get a little freaked out when you just let me take over. Who does that? I would never do that. Don’t you even want to know why I have that opinion? What my reasoning process is? If I’ve examined all the pros and cons? Are you sure you aren’t just agreeing with me to shut me up?

I have a tendency to choose the hardest path

I have the tiniest tendency towards machismo. Or masochism, whichever. This tendency has gotten better in recent years, but whenever I don’t take the most grueling path to my goals (it’s the journey that teaches, not the destination, dontchaknow?) I always quiz myself ruthlessly: Is it cuz you’re scared? Don’t have what it takes? Can’t handle it, sweetheart?

Even though I’ve recognized it, and hardly ever fall for it, it’s still my preset.

I have a tendency to overextend

And offshoot of the last item, but a separate pattern with its own motivations. I tend to fill space up. Not physical space, but mental space. I always want to be doing, building, learning. Those are all well and good in and of themselves, but the inability to sit and just be argues that I’m covering for a perceived inadequacy — what am I am without my achievements?

They say that when he was young, Benjamin Franklin sat down and made a list of his faults, and worked, systematically, to overcome them. I think keeping trade of these sorts of patterns works the same way.

What do you think? How are you doing with tackling your own recurrent patterns?


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6 thoughts on “All The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Things You Never Knew About Me”

  1. Oh my goodness – I must have been reading your mind!! You definitely inspired part of my post waaaay back when we had that convo on IL about my health/fitness goals. I suppose I should not be surprised that the patterns you are working on are the ones I least would have expected, and the ones about which I have learned the most from you.

    1. “We teach what we most need to learn.” And I’ve been aware of these patterns for some time and even though I mostly catch myself and do the “right action,” I’m still fascinated by my reactions, and then my reactions to my reactions. The trick is to split the difference, but to also know why you’re doing it, reason it out and be conscious.

      “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. ” I try to spend a lot of time in that space. However, the most tricky part is to recognize the stimulus.

      This makes fighting very hard for me. I pretty much have to say, “I’ll get back to you,” because I need time to explore the triggers, my reaction to them, the layers of conditions I put over my reactions, plus any flaws in my fighting partner that I’m trying to be gentle around. If you’d known me when I was younger, I was quite the verbal brawler. But now my goal isn’t winning, it’s communicating, and in the heat of a conflict I often don’t even know what it is I want to communicate. 

  2. 7-27 ~ really, it’s only been a week??
    Hope it’s being “productive” – *whatever* that means for you today.

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