Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A life not lived for others is not worth living at all...

Einstein said that...or something very close to it. As always, I just finished a movie and am feeling quite reflective. That quote was in the movie and oddly appropriate in my life right now. Just the other day I was talking with a friend and made a comment about how I feel I put the well being of others ahead of my own. When asked why I replied with "because I can't know how their going to react to the situation." Having time to reflect on what I said then, I've come to one of two conclusions: I focus too much on the well being of others and need to focus on me for a change, or I only think I put others first but in reality I don't...and therefore I'm kind of an asshole for thinking I do. Either is entirely feasible, and my recent mopey-ness could be a result of trying to put myself first and having trouble adjusting or because I'm starting to realize I'm not as selfless as I think.

I tend to hold my tongue when not doing so could result in hurt feelings, or un-thought-out (I have a way with words don't I?) emotional outbursts or instant easing of my own guilt/pain/etc at the expense of another. I generally think before I speak, but I think too often all I do is think and never say anything...even well-thought-out, emotionally controlled statements. Right now, just off the top of my head, I can think of four different people I could really "let loose on" (meaning I could let loose of that worry of their feelings and just say what I need to say...whether it be constructive or more of an emotional outburst of sorts). Each one is for different reasons (some of them even for my own selfish benefit...oh my!!) and yet I probably won't say a word to anyone of them about their respective topics.

Even as I'm drafting this I can't help but wonder why I'm wired this way. Is it fear? Fear of what the other person's reaction will be...fear of what they will say in return...fear of how saying something will change the dynamic of the relationship or end it altogether? Fear is a strong force and a very plausible explanation here. Ok so maybe that's the only reason I can come up with right now. I thought I had another but clearly I don't.

The more I sit here and think about it, the more I'm convinced it's fear...fear of the unknown. I don't like not knowing what's going to happen. Big shocker there, right? But seriously, in a very palpable, very large scale, I'm afraid of not knowing...so much so that I think it prevents me from doing things...like speaking my mind, and making myself vulnerable to change and failure. It's probably the biggest reason why I haven't been able to find a satisfying job...because I'm afraid to put myself out there, try for something, and be turned down...to fail. I have the job I have now because I knew it would be easy. It was familiar and relatively unchallenging. It was a safe choice...and very much the wrong choice...hence why I'm leaving the job next week.

Now I feel like I've completely lost my focus and rambled all over the place. This was supposed to be about how I put others' needs ahead of my own, and has turned into why I'm unhappy with my job and afraid to take chances. I even play poker this way. I realize that's completely irrelevant right now, but it just popped in my head and it made me laugh. When I play poker, I make very few risky moves. I generally only get aggressive or exude confidence in my hand when I'm almost absolutely certain I have the best hand. Only when I'm certain of success, am I unafraid to go for it all. Then again it's poker, and trivial in the grand spectrum of life, so I occasionally take stupid risks, and play aggressively with crap hands...but that's only because I know at the end of the night it was just a game with no bearing on real life. I'm doing a great job of staying focused here, aren't i? :-/

So I think I've come up with a solution, at least a temporary one. I'm going to continue to be sensitive to the feelings of others. That's just who I am, and I think that's a good thing. Along with that though, I'm going to try and speak my mind more...worry about my well being and do what's right for me. I'm not going to turn into a narcissist or anything like that, but a few toes might get stepped on because I pipe up when I usually keep my mouth shut. Who knows how this will play out...or if it will have that big of an impact...but I feel that it's time for change. And seeing as how I'm about to be unemployed and moving back home, I figure now's as good of a time as any to start taking care of good ol' me. On a side note I think I just came up with another five or six people I'd like to "let loose" on. Rawr!

I do feel a little better for letting this out...and as edited as it may be (it's still way to public to be completely honest and without some level of censoring) it's still very therapeutic. In addition to worrying about me first, I think I need to make a few personal changes too. Positive changes that will hopefully lead to better things in all aspects of my life. And I know I'm a huge talker...I'm full of all these great intentions...but I lack follow-thru. For some reason tho, I feel this time around is different. I've never voluntarily quit a job because it made me unhappy. I did that because it was the right move for me. Granted I did agree to stay on for another week (so I ended up giving three weeks notice) because I knew it was going to put them in a bind to have someone suddenly leave, but that's the happy medium I guess. So I'm already taking steps to be the change I want in my life and I wasn't aware of that until just now...and knowing that feels good :)


Jenny said...

It could be that you're worrying about how you treat others because it takes some of the focus off of you trying to figure out your own life. I do not know you well enough to witness how you act in relationships and friendships but you seem nice enough! Just be who you are and figure out what you want out of life and take the plunge! Easier said than done right?

Staci and Jordan said...

Thinking before you speak and sparing people's feelings is more common courtesy than putting others before yourself. Putting someone before yourself would be like going out and getting donuts for the office without being asked.

Jordan is the ultimate putting others before himself guy, especially to me since I've gotten pregnant. There have been countless times he's gone to pick something up at the store for me, without me even asking him, before he goes to work. I'll wake up and discover the eggs, or milk or bacon that wasn't there before. I think if you're really putting someone before yourself, you're happy about it and if you're not then perhaps that's not someone you should make the effort for. You don't have to treat every single person the same, or be friends with everyone.

I also think it's good to let people know how you feel, but like you said in calm, controlled, well thought out ways. Not just randomly laying into someone as soon as the emotion hits you.

Anywho, sorry this is so long. :)