I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me an uncomfortable truth about myself: basically, I’m an unreasonable bitch. Anytime someone does something to hurt me, whether intentional or not, I feel justified reacting as harshly as I can and will NOT hear anything about it. Why? Because they did ME wrong. So I can respond however I see fit, right? And if anybody tells me I’m wrong, I shut down on them. I pride myself in being extremely self-aware, so of course I knew she was telling no lies. However, before I could defensively inform her that this wasn’t news, she followed up with “You’ll say you know, but you never actually do better.”
After the initial dose of truth, my friend simply suggested that I grow up and handle conflict with some emotional maturity. I, of course, did not appreciate this and responded with a half-assed silent treatment (because she offered me food soon after) that lasted the rest of the night. But as soon as she told me this, I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t true. Every single word of it. I hated hearing it and I wanted to hate her for saying it. How dare she have the nerve to read me to ME? It hurt because I know I’m not perfect, but I spend ample time trying to hide that truth from other people. Obviously, my slip slipped.
So of course, I had to do some self-assessing. I did the following checklist to measure just how ridiculous I am:
Am I sometimes overly sensitive to the actions of others?
Do I punish people for not responding to my feelings the way I want them to?
Do I always communicate these feelings to others?
Do I always take the time to understand the perspectives of others?
Am I sometimes selfish?
Do I honestly expect people to accept the worst of me?
Am I willing to be better?
No, I’m perfect
Do I want to be alone because I’m too stubborn to be better?
Is it really?
Do I really value my relationships with the people in my life?
Do I trust my loved ones to forgive my shortcomings?
I did not enjoy hearing the truth, but I hated the thought of losing my friend even more. She wasn’t the first person to point out where I lack in relationships. Other people and situations have shown me my flaws many times, but I didn’t take the lessons because I couldn’t see past my own ego. I took any form of criticism as an attack or “hating”. My constant conflict was everybody’s fault but mine. But if I keep finding myself in the same situations having the same feelings with people telling me the same things, I must have some work to do.
Even as a kid, my mother would tell me I had an attitude problem that would cause me issues as I got older. I told myself she just didn’t like me and was hating. When I got older and started losing friends because of it, I told myself they just weren’t good friends. When it caused me problems in my romantic relationships, I told myself the person for me wouldn’t offend me in the first place. As time went by, I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t as good of a friend/family member/partner as I thought, but people wouldn’t tell me to my face because they knew how I’d respond. Lord, I became the girl you can’t say nothing to! I feel ashamed of that because the people around me deserve a better me and I deserve to be in healthy relationships. However, my relationships can’t be healthy if I refuse to quit my own unhealthy behavior.
To me, hearing that I was wrong meant my feelings weren’t valid. I had to learn that my hurt feelings did not justify my hurtful actions. I am learning that there are alternatives. Instead of lashing out at or dismissing people, I can simply say “You hurt me, and I didn’t like that.” I absolutely owe my gratitude and an open apology to every friend, partner, and family member who has tolerated my disrespect and childish behavior because they loved me. I am forever grateful for those who stayed in my life because they see my heart and believe that I can be better.
No more bullshit justifications!
So girl, I appreciate you telling me the truth. I needed to hear it, and I’m a better woman because of it.