I’ve re-written this post several times, both on paper and in my head.
There just doesn’t seem to be an easy way for me to explain what I’m thinking and feeling.
Recently, a good friend pointed out to me that she believes I’m way too structured and that I always appear to be “perfect”.
This bothers me enough to explore why it bothers me.
You, my dear readers, know that I struggle with my own sense of self worth – but others who know me in real life just see the surface of who they want to see, rather than digging deeper into why I do things.
This friend attempted to dig deeper, but due to circumstances, we weren’t able to get very far in my explanations to her questions. As I’d like to attempt to go back to the conversation with her at some point, I’m going to practice my thoughts here. I hope you don’t mind.
She sees me as being too structured and doesn’t see me as being spontaneous – but I can be, very much so. I just like to know that my responsibilities are met and completed first. Some responsibilities can be put off for a couple of hours or days, some cannot. If I know my to-do list can be postponed, and I want to do what is suggested, then I will JUMP at the opportunity. If I don’t want to do what is being suggested, then my ever present to-do list is a perfect, socially acceptable “excuse” for saying no. Maybe I just need to start saying no instead.
I thrive on structure, consistency and repetition. While I do get bored, it isn’t because my structure is too rigid, but rather because I haven’t planned anything “fun” to do in my life recently. I prefer to plan my relaxation and leisure time. Planning for relaxation allows me to truly relax without the nagging feelings of worry and doubt that plague me, whispering in my head, “you shouldn’t be relaxing, you should be doing THAT instead”.
So, why does she think I’m TOO structured?
Because I’ll comment about the meal I made on Sunday, just to eat as my lunches for the entire week. I spend time organizing my schedule. I make shopping lists and will stick to them.
For the most part, she does the exact opposite.
There’s nothing wrong with either system – what works for her, doesn’t work for me and reverse.
She also sees me as attempting to appear “perfect” too. She knows I’m not perfect, but it bothers her that she sees me as someone who “acts” this way.
That’s just it – I’m not “acting” as she says. What she, and everyone else, sees is me. I was raised to act this way. I have spent the last 40 years behaving the way I do. I don’t act the way I do to make others uncomfortable, but rather, if I acted any way differently, I would be uncomfortable myself.
I’m confident in my abilities. I know what I can do. I know what my strengths are. When I agree to do something, I agree to those things that play to my strengths and that I know I can do and follow through on. I usually have an image in my mind of how something will work or turn out – and I’m usually right.
I also know what I cannot do. I know what my weaknesses are. When I stay silent on a project, it’s because I do not think I will be successful at it. I know that I do not have the knowledge or the skills to be competent. If I offer to help, it is because I want to learn how to do that skill that someone else is doing, not that I know what I’m doing.
So, if she knows I’m not perfect, then why does it bother her?
My opinion is it’s because she’s attempting to measure herself against me. She sees herself as a “hot mess” and is vocal about her flaws. I am not vocal about my own flaws. I don’t see the need to announce it whenever the thought goes through my head – she typically does.
I love my friend just the way she is. We balance each other out. She is funny, generous, and outspoken. She knows what her limits are and will not hesitate to speak up regarding them. She will call you out if you’re doing something wrong. And she would give you her last dime if it meant it would keep you safe.
She is the kind of friend that I wish some days I would be. However, if I was more like her, I wouldn’t be me.
I suspect she wishes, just like me, that she would be more like me. She sees my strengths and measures her weaknesses against them and finds them lacking.
I think this bothers me because I’m finally accepting who I am and I’m no longer trying to be someone I’m not. And then my friend, whom I love dearly, is trying to change who she is to be someone she is not. I hope she can find peace and acceptance in being herself.