Be Someone You’re Proud Of

Written on May 16th, 2017

I try to keep myself pulled together. I try to do things right. I try to be positive, to be kind, to be brave. From the outside it may seem as though I have it figured out… but the truth is that it only appears that way because I’ve worked hard to make it so. The truth is that I fall into the trap of attempting to come across as perfect when I really, truly am not. The truth is that there are many things about me that are far from desirable, and the truth is that I’m tired of trying to look like someone I’m not.

Here are the facts: I’m oversensitive. I’m insecure. I’m easily influenced by those around me. I’m conflict-averse, but sometimes I’m impulsive as hell. I can’t let go of things easily; one negative comment can keep me up for days. I value forgiveness, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know how to hold a grudge. Sometimes I don’t listen when the people I love are talking. Sometimes I get hung up on little details that detract from a beautiful big picture. Sometimes I’m judgmental, and hypocritical, and biased. Sometimes… I suck.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately as I continue to struggle with some mental health difficulties. My insecurities are fanged dragons that refuse to be slain; my overthinking is a habit so deeply ingrained that I’m not sure who I would be without it. I often walk away from conversations and worry for hours afterward that I said or did something wrong. I can dwell on one negative interaction for days at a time, and I can mutate a neutral experience into a horrible one with just a few minutes of overanalyzing.

Some rational part of me can identify when my insecurities are taking over and can actually offer pretty sound advice. I can step back from a situation and say “okay, things really aren’t that bad.” But no matter how sound my cognitive thought process is, I can never seem to get my heart to agree with the reality in my head. I carry around a hollow weight in the pit of my stomach more moments than not, wondering why my feelings refuse to match my rationality.

It is a horrible balance to constantly crave affirmation yet understand how annoying it is to be so needy. I have come a long way in the past years, but there are still so many moments that I react in ways I am not proud of. I have countless lists of goals scrawled into my planner and plastered on my walls, phrases that are supposed to remind me how to be someone lovable: be honest, make everyone feel welcome, be brave. But what I have come to realize is that it’s silly to try to follow some agenda of how to be a good person, because I will undoubtedly always fail. It’s silly to look to the world for cues of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Instead, I’ve just been trying to make myself proud.

I’ve been thinking about the qualities I appreciate and the people who I love to be around. I’ve been evaluating my own judgments of the world around me. And mostly, I have been accepting that I can be riddled with flaws and yet still be someone good. When I think of the reasons I am proud of my mother or my father it is never because they are perfect – it is because they are comfortable not being so. It is because they own their mistakes, they accept their flaws, they take responsibility for the times they have not acted appropriately. I am proud of them not because they are pristine… but because they are honest about the fact that they are far from.

And that’s what I want to do. Instead of trying to always act right, to always hold my tongue, I just want to be real. I will sometimes be sensitive. I will sometimes overreact. But if, at the end of the day, I can look back and swallow my pride and apologize and try to be someone better tomorrow… well, that’s all I really need to be proud of myself.

So here I am, world: completely imperfect. Totally messed up. Oh, I know it: sometimes I’m downright annoying. But I’m me, and I’m a work in progress. Wherever I go from here, I don’t want to be a mold of ideals – I want to be a carving of love, of passion, of growth. I want to be honest. I want to be genuine. And I want to always, always, always keep improving.

I’m going to make myself proud.