Thursday, February 25, 2010

Respect, Acceptance, and Rejection

A few things have happened recently to make me realize that sometimes, I’m a disrespectful ass.

I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to shape my behavior based on what I think other people think about me (see ‘rejection’ tag on this blog), because I wanted so badly to be accepted.

So, when I started to break free from that, and from those hefty chains, I noticed a bit of a swing in the opposite direction: not worrying one bit about how my actions or words affected others, or might come across.

As you might expect, there’s a little bit of backlash to that, especially since I’m still relatively new at this ‘expressing myself’ thing. I’m bound to make mistakes.

I think this issue is two-fold. I’ll attempt to explain…

Issue 1:

Let’s take one of the bad habits I’m trying to break, like being late all the time.

I’ve struggled a lot with being late. All of my friends know that they can expect me to be anywhere from 5-15 minutes late to an in-person meeting.

For some reason, it’s a huge issue for me to be on time, let alone early. I always think I can squeeze in just one more thing before I need to leave. Or, I oversleep or take too long of a shower, and as a result, I’m running late from the get-go. The worst is when I get distracted (oo! shiny!) and lose track of time. I am ADD, after all, and this is one area where I haven't coped well with ADD at all.

I’ve been written up in previous jobs for being late. I’ve been “talked to” about it by other employers.

(I’m fortunate now that my current position doesn’t rely heavily on being in to the office at a specific time. I appreciate that flexibility.)

This is a pretty significant nemesis for me, especially since one of the most important things in my life is volunteering for an organization where the sessions I help with are tightly time-bound. In this realm, I’m actually pretty good about being on time. I slip up now and then, but in the overall scheme of things, I do better about being on time for these sessions than I am for anything else in my life.

And being on time takes a lot of preparation on my part. I pick out my outfit the night before. I get my breakfast ready, waiting right by my purse so it's easy to grab. I get my vitamins packed in my purse. My car keys are actually hooked onto my purse, so I always know where they are. The shoes I’m going to wear are right by the door. Everything is all set so that all I have to do is get up, get ready, and go. In other words, I don’t have to think.

That’s how significant it is. It’s engrained. It’s a problem I’ve struggled with my entire LIFE. So, breaking this cycle isn’t going to be easy.

So, it really stings when it’s brought to my attention that being late is still a big problem. I’m so eager to pat myself on the back for being on time “most” of the time, that I let myself off the hook for the times I’m “only” a few minutes late.

From someone else's perspective, I'm certain that being late reflects poorly on my character. It's disrespectful. It says to the other person or group, "You don't matter as much as I do." 

So, the first issue, in a nutshell: I’ve got a bad habit of some sort that I hate working on, and maybe I’m not even sure how to tackle it. I’m far from an organized person, and the universe has already revealed to me that organization is my priority this year. So, I have a lot of judgments wrapped up around how to work on this habit, how hard it is to break this habit and form a new one in its place, etc.

Basically, I criticize myself so much for having this bad habit that anytime someone else brings it up, it feels like I’m looking at an ugly monster.

Issue 2:

I immediately form judgments about the person who’s on the receiving end of whatever my bad habit is.

The hard truth?

It releases me from accountability, and it helps me justify my feelings. I make myself pay for it in the quiet recesses of my mind and heart, but man it looks ugly when other people see it.

So, for example, when I sent an email to a random person (see previous entry) and got no response… how many judgments were wrapped up in what I posted there? Instead of accepting the situation at face value and assuming it had nothing to do with me, I assumed it had everything to do with me, and I reacted accordingly.

How immature is that?

(Um, that’s a rhetorical question.)

Also, how arrogant is that, to assume that I am the one causing someone else’s universe to be out of whack?

So, these are significant problems. The nice thing is that they’re not as huge as the problems I used to have. Not nearly. But it’s something I’m working on.

I ask for patience and compassion from my friends. 

It’s really weird how rejection/acceptance issues manifest in other ways in my life…


  1. These are powerful insights and you should give yourself lots of credit for recognizing these things are a problem. Not everyone is willing to do that.

    It's been brought to my attention recently (by the universe, not, thank goodness, any specific person) that I have a pattern of not following through on things if they don't turn out the way I hope/want/expect. It's a lifelong issue, but now that I'm more aware of it, I am working on fixing it, even making amends where I can.

    Rejection/acceptance issues are ingrained and run deep. A willingness to work through all the muck is important and brave. ♥

  2. That was fast! Thank you for responding.

    I do want to be as good of a person I can be. I know I'm in a better place than I've ever been in. And here I was worried I would get complacent! I guess not... haha.

    I am trying to update this blog more often. I have missed public blogging.