Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the wall.....

What began as an method of self-reflection, and an effort to see a clear cut path on the road less traveled, turned into something much more, or should I say, less.

First off, I never intended for anyone to feel like I was "talking about" anyone other than myself. That was what the post was about and since it is MY blog, I didn't feel the need to censure, edit or tone down what I was saying and feeling. This was my therapy and it has indeed sparked some very stimulating and educational conversations about everything from the ways of the world to the ways of God.

Most of the time the two are VERY different. Being human, I think that it is easier to spend most of our time cruising down Life's Highway rather than the "Highway to Heaven". (Boy that brings back some good Michael Landon memories.....)

Anyway, yes, I am human and I get caught up in this life and all the drama that comes with it. In fact, I am probably worse than others.

But I really don't want to be. (Does that count? Come on! Anyone?)

I was speaking with a good friend and in the course of the conversation we spoke of the differences in people and the way that people protect themselves. We all have our ways of trying to ensure our emotional safety or protect our feelings.

Some people create walls and hope to keep people out. Some people put on masks and pretend to be something other than they are....many times it is someone they WANT to be. And some people hurt others before they can be hurt.

The list goes on and on.

I think many of us fall into one or more of the categories.

I know that my personal favorite is telling people all (and more) that they need to know about me. And, yes, need is subjective.

I am guilty of providing people with the most dark (and dingy) parts of me and my life. I have often said that I am an open book, and this is completely true. I could pretend that this is because I am just such a wonderfully honest person, blah blah blah, but that wouldn't be true. My need to tell everything about me is also a defense mechanism on my part. I want everyone that is in my life to know everything about me so that they can then take stock and figure out if I am the person they thought I was, and the person they wanted me to be. If not, they can then slip silently away. I want people to know my faults, imperfections and mistakes because it is easier on me.

What? You are probably wondering how it can be easier on me to air all of my dirty laundry.

Well, it simply is.

You see, I live in doubt of myself and I always want to be better.

I don't want someone to say, "Kim is this......" or "Kim is that....." and for me to be wondering in the deep recesses of my mind if their opinion of me would be different if they truly knew me.

There have been times that I was certain that the truth would cost me some of the most dear relationships in my life. But I had to tell it.......

Once my husband told me there were things that he would've rather not known.......

You see, although different than pretending to be someone I am not, it is still a protective measure just the same. It can hurt people too.....just the same.


I have enjoyed the emails and conversation that this post has brought about although I have to say that it was somewhat of a surprise to me. I think (for the most part) that people are doing the best they can with what they have been given.

I also believe that what Manda commented was right, too. People have "true colors" and sometimes those colors are ugly no matter what light you are looking at them in. You try and try, but sometimes, you can't make them be a color other than what they are.

You can add a throw pillow here and a nice quilt there, but the colors......they are still ugly.

It is at this point of realization that you have to decide what your reaction will be. Or coping mechanism, if you will.

I have found that many times my reaction is to try and "paint" over the person's true colors which I find offensive. Other reactions include backing off so that the view of the color's aren't as clear. And then there are others who go on, and like Mama Goose commented, try to show what their own true colors are and hope that the "offender" likes them as much as they do and wishes to change, or paint over. In simpler, non-color related terms, I think that we might call this leading by example.

In a perfect world, that is what we would all do. Lead by example. It is, after all, what we are called to do.

But I am not perfect and when I reach the point where I am so consumed with my irritation that I seem to "fester" and "boil" and be anything but what God wants me to be.......what do I do then?

I think that God puts people in our lives for a reason. However, is severing, or distancing from, a friendship or relationship, the better alternative when the only thing left to choose from is turning into a resentful, quick-to-find fault, "friend"? And, of course, I use the term friend loosely.

The only answer that seems to be right, is yes.

As in my job (I work at a funeral home), becoming somewhat "shut off" from, or hardened to, the circumstances around us, helps us to better serve the families that we help. If we, too, were upset by death and the grief that it brings with it, we would not be able to adequately help the people who need us. They require for us to be strong, and present, at a time when they simply can not.

I think the same can be said for "toxic relationships". Severing is the best solution when you become so immersed in the bad behavior that you can't adequately care for, and nurture, the other friendship and relationships in your life......regardless of who is at fault.

I need to emphasize that this, at least in my case, is not about fault finding. It has been about discovering traits in myself that I am not happy with or proud of.......and looking at ways to correct them. Sometimes you have to step away from a situation to see it clearly.

At the end of the day, the only person you can control is yourself.


Honestly, this topic is now officially wearing me out! I can't imagine what it is doing to those of you who are still here sticking around to read it!

I also want to say that although I love the kind comments, and emails that you have sent saying such nice things about me.....that isn't what I was searching for. Not that it wasn't nice to read..... and not that I didn't publish them in the local paper.... (hee hee!)

I, in fact, found that those of you who were saying that I was too hard on myself, or that I was a good friend, or whatever, made me want to write another post letting you know EXACTLY why I am not good, and not nice and not too hard on myself.

Again, I think this has something to do with my full disclosure issues, but your kind intent was not lost. Thank you!

Now, on the advice of another good friend, I am going to download the Eagles "Get Over It" and then I am going to sing it loudly for myself and for "others".

Consider yourselves warned.

Amen and Amen.


Anonymous said...

Enough said.

~Sharn Jean

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

I have that same issue - telling people ALL my dirty laundry! For me, it's a way of protecting myself, too - because if I say all the bad things, then what's left for you to say?

It's not healthy, but at least I've become aware of it over the last couple of years. Now to really work on it...

Mama Goose said...

Soul searching is good stuff. So is honesty. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.