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Showing posts with label flaw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flaw. Show all posts

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mission Accomplished: Declaring victory too soon.

Few people ever want to admit defeat.  People generally want to think  well of themselves (unless they are what I call a negative narcissist), but I digress.  People generally want to think reasonably well about themselves.   Sometimes that means ignoring your flaws and seeing an inflated view of yourself, that is to say you are a narcissist.  History is littered with tyrants who justified their tyranny because they felt they were serving the greater good--Hitler is probably the most well known.  Sometimes that means measuring your flaws against your good points and concluding your good points exceed that of your flaws.  We see that in politics, where people who have used bad judgement in their life or made mistakes survive their negatives and go on to become successful and well thought of.  Sometimes, it means working on your flaws or failings and 'overcoming' them or achieving victory over them.  We see that in the friend who puts down the bottle for good, the parent who does a better job with their second or third kid or the felon that who finds peace in their faith and makes something of themselves once they are out of prison.

The focus of this post is those who know they have difficulties, flaws or failings and see themselves as overcoming or having overcome them.   Sometimes if we tie our worth too much to our 'issues', then we create an incentive to 'declare victory' prematurely.  I believe everyone has examples from their own life or from those close to them.   I will list examples or cases I've seen of been a part of.

Declaring victory too soon
  • In my post, #MeAsWell: For What It's Worth, I detail sexual abuse I faced as a child.  In my mind despite some hiccups, I had successfully made it into adulthood gainfully and successfully employed most of the time.  I had bought a decent house in a good part of town, had a nice car, was married and was well on my way to parenthood.  In other words, the American Dream.  I had convinced myself and the few others around me that knew about it that I had survived and escaped the damage of my childhood, despite the fact that I'd never sought counseling for it.  The signs of 'success' were there, so hey...    Meanwhile, I had a generalized anxiety disorder raging since age 17, I had a problem trusting people--even those close to me--and my behavior didn't always measure up to the standards that my faith would imply.  Anyone who knows me, realizes that eventually like any great fa├žade, eventually the truth has an ugly way of rearing its head.  The truth was that I had never really fully healed from the abuse during my childhood.  The distrust, the anxiety, the flaws eventually came to a head and by 2011, the signs of success had largely been swept away like a sign on the beach during a hurricane.  House, marriage, job, etc. were no more.
  • I had a friend who had a heroine addiction.  I stood by that friend as long as I could.  I saw her 'successfully' complete a stint at a drug treatment center.  I heard her hopefulness that she was done with it.   In short, she was seeking to declare victory.   Supposedly she was clean (at least for a short time)  when she tragically died in an auto accident.  Her life had spiraled out of control and at the very least I think she was very fragile by that point.  That is to say, even if drugs hadn't contributed directly to her accident, indirectly I think she was still reeling.  I'd seen another friend successfully through detox and sobriety for alcoholism, so I thought my friend with the heroine addiction could make it too.  I didn't realize at the time how addictive and deadly heroine is/was and was fooled into being optimistic.
  • I've seen someone I dated push aside anger, grief and other such feelings and claim she was fine and didn't need counseling.  Yet, every time things got rough or she faced adversity she could be seen running to grief and regret that she couldn't help her mom avoid dying young from pneumonia. 

I think for most of us, if we honestly look into our lives, we can find area or two in our lives in which were have 'declared victory' too soon.  That is to say, we are not in as good of a place as we would like to believe we are.  That's not to say that everyone is totally screwed up or has areas in their life which hold them back excessively.  However, I think it is safe to say that most people have misjudged their progress in an area in which they can improve.  I believe sometimes it is easier to 'declare victory' than to do the hard work of self-improvement.   

Just my 1/50th of a $1 for the day.  

Cheers from a snowy day in the Gateway to the West.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Knew You Were Waiting For an Advocate

Aretha Franklin died this week and the music world and society is a bit poorer for it. When you think of old school R&B and Gospel, who do you think of?
I remember back in high school hearing George Michael and her on "I knew you were waiting (for me)" and I thought this was probably the highlight of his career (IMHO) doing a duo with a living legend.
In any case, hearing that song attuned me to her music.
While her passing was sad, it kind of hit home a bit for me more. My mom was born 6 days before her and that was music of my mom's era. I felt like calling my mom and relating to her, but as many of you know, she passed in 2014. Aretha's passing brought that fact home again painfully.
RIP Aretha. Perhaps, "She knew He (the Father) was waiting for her. May her music resonate in Heaven.
RIP Mom I still think about you and miss you.

If we are lucky, we have a few people in our lives who "are waiting for us".  By that I mean really advocate for us no matter what.  I mean those who will stick by us through thick or thin.  Wherever she was, she proudly announced that I was her son.  At times, I thought, "oh mom" or felt a little embarrassed, on balance I liked it.  My mom, in her last couple of years was in a nursing home and still did that.  I jokingly said to a few people that I could go on a rampage and she'd say, "I'm sure you are just having a bad day." She was my biggest advocate.

An advocate for us
  • Wants the best for us, period.  Not what they think is best for us, but what makes us happy or fulfilled.
  • Willing to overlook our imperfections.  Doesn't mean they will never say anything to us about them, but they won't define us by them.  Fixing our 'imperfections' will not be the price of admission to being in a small 'r' continued relationship with them.
  • Look for the good in us rather than focusing on our flaws.  That doesn't mean they won't every saying anything negative to us, but they don't live in the negative with us.
  • They will tend to take our side, even if it isn't always justified or even if they don't necessarily agree.  
    • They realize that sometimes it is more important for us to feel stood up for and accepted than to be 'corrected'. 
    • There is a time for revisiting a circumstance/situation later, but they are attuned to our needs now.  
I went through a divorce and someone close to me, whom I confided in, harshly criticized me in the throes of my hurt about it.  That changed my relationship to the person.  While they had some valid points, the time wasn't right.  An advocate would better handle differences of opinion.  But, I digress.

Advocates are a rare breed. When you grow up with them or you find them in life, don't take them for granted or try to 'trade up'.  Yes, there will be other people that will situation-ally or for a time take your side.  But, a true advocate will be there for you, through the good times, the bad times and the times in between.  Just my thoughts.