Thursday, March 19, 2009

Man in the mirror

I got halfway through a new post last night and it spiraled out of control into an incoherent mess. Which tells me there were to many things I was trying to work out in writing it, so I'm going to try and start a bit smaller.

It's been hard to look in the mirror lately, while I've never liked pictures of myself my dislike of pictures was always different then looking in the mirror, not so much lately. It's not a great feeling, but I think I know where it comes from, in struggling with who I am, I don't recognize the person looking back. Acknowledging the person looking back at me means acknowledging all of the things facing me in life. I don't think I'm scared of who's looking back at me, it's more a procrastination of trying to understand who I really am and figuring out how to proceed in the future. Balancing my true self with my one I show to the world and want to be.

There are multiple things in my life now that I'm struggling with, here are some of them:

1. Emotional emptiness (a loss of feeling and sensitivity)

2. Dealing with a potential move due to my wife finding a new job out of state

3. Supporting my wife in her pursuit of her chosen career, which I know has been a huge struggle for her

4. Understanding who I want to be in the next 10 or 15 years

5. Trying to understand where in my career I want to go, it's the new 3 year window, time to move up or go stale

It's not a comprehensive list, but it's a pretty good start. And while this exercise in self exploration is supposed to help with those, none of them are going to be solved today, tomorrow, or 6 weeks from now. My goal through this self exploration is to identify and understand the biggest stresses that I'm facing, why those are affecting me, and who I want to be after dealing with them. This way as I encounter situations where I need to make a decision based on these things I have a plan on how to deal with them and I'm able to factor in the larger picture of what I want. At least that's the plan, whether it's going to work or not remains to be seen.

Where to start then, I think I'll take it easy from here, and write down some thoughts on how I perceive myself today or for lack of a better term what I see in the mirror.


1. Selfish

2. Compassionate at times

3. Intelligent

4. Competitive

5. Confident in many of my abilities

6. Vain

7. Thoughtful

8. Responsible

9. Manipulative

10. Sensitive

11. Guarded

12. Insightful

13. Perceptive

14. Patient

Characteristics about me:

1. I look at as many solutions as possible when examining a problem and weigh all scenarios, on first analysis emotion doesn't factor in at all, it's farther down on the pros and cons of a solution. At times it feels very cold and calculating, but it's the only way I know to come to a solution of a problem.

2. I'm very perceptive and conscious of other's perceptions, I build some pretty strong scenarios based on a minimal amount of data, estimating reactions and pressures of those involved. It's not a perfect science but it serves me well when I need it.

3. I compartmentalize my life, even my close relationships are built on levels of what I feel is the necessary amount of self to share during that relationship. In looking at it historically there has been very few relationships where I was completely vulnerable. I despise this compartmentalization at times as it's exhausting, but I'm not entirely sure how to change this, I'm not even sure that I have the ability to do it.

4. I'm the type of person that doesn't crave the spotlight, but ultimately I want the ball at the end of the game (for lack of a better term). I don't feel comfortable giving up control of decision making and I'd much rather lead and be wrong then let someone else lead. I'm not afraid of making decisions or even mistakes, although lately I have become a bit hesitant which is one of the issues concerning me. I believe momentum is critical to resolution, which doesn't always mean you need to react to a situation as timing plays a big role in problem resolutions.

5. I'm capable of lying when I feel it is necessary, there are times when compartmentalizing things I find it necessary, I don't look at it as something bad, but rather a tool in managing life. It's probably not the best characteristic, but whether or not it's a good one I'd debate, much like the definition of good and evil.

6. I'm pretty good in understanding other's emotions, but I do a horrible job with managing my own. My guarded persona doesn't help and it's easy at times to utilize compassion as a cover for being sensitive to others so I can appear emotionally normal. It's easy when you are the one listening, or trying to help someone for them not to realize that the focus is on them. It's a diversion technique, a more elaborate guard that I've developed over the years. The truth is much of my emotion is bundled up and I'm not very good about letting it out nor do I seem to have been able to create an environment that enables me to do release it.

7. I crave stimulation, other's would say that I enjoy drama/brooding. I think I know why I crave this, it gives my mind something to occupy itself with. Stimulation is a distraction of sorts, but in many instances it's functional. Out of all types of stimulations, brooding is like a drug for me and I'm an addict. In my current life, I'm trying to be very conscious of this, years ago I may brooded for a variety of reasons, today I believe it's a necessary evil in trying to regain my balance.

8. I'm protective of those close to me, but at the same time I expect a lot from them, I also have no interest in making it known in how I mend relationships and soothe feelings at times between those that are close to me.

9. I'm forgiving of faults, mistakes, and the past when dealing with others, but I only have so much capacity to do so, it's not never ending. When I get to my breaking point, I try and make it known. This can be difficult for me as I can't always express myself in the best way possible, but I'm conscious of that and realize that I need to have patience in these types of situations where I've reached my capacity.

10. I think I'm selfish, at least I'm feeling that way lately. Maybe it's a natural reaction to having given out for so long without taking care of myself emotionally. Maybe it's something deeper. Currently it's the driving force in my self exploration.

So that's my first look in the mirror, well at least the first in a long period of time, and certainly the first time I've ever decided to lay out in one spot. I'd love to think that by doing this I'm opening myself up and am going to heal, feel better, and every other new age cliche is going to come true. It's possible I suppose, but deep down I suspect that this period is more an evolution rather then a deconstruction. The words needed to come out, and it helps me focus. At the beginning of this new journey I think I was naive enough to believe that I could erase all of this and become simpler. I'm pretty sure that's not possible. Many of these characteristics aren't habits they are traits. I do need to bring them under control and try and understand what's causing some of them to surface in the manner in which they are. At the end of this I anticipate that I'll incorporate this type of outpouring into my new self and build new defenses and tools to deal with the next period in life. I never said I was perfect.

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