Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Here's to time

I am a rather selfish person. I know this and admit to it. I like to have things my way. I like to be in control. Most of the time, not being in control agonizes me to the level of nightmares and threats of ulcers. I just like to look out for number one. Over the Rhine sings a line that describes the sentiment quite well: I know I'm not a martyr. I wouldn't die for anyone but me.

Ok, unfortunately the line isn't completely "spot on." Because, you see, in all my vanity and selfishness, there are times when I am not selfish enough.

Time. Actually, there's a great example.

Some may see my time schedule as hectic, impossible, overbearing. Some may get frustrated with my being late here or leaving early there because they think I am not respecting their time enough. Maybe I'm not. Maybe that's my selfish side. I, however, view the chaos in a completely different manner.

I don't fill my schedule in order to "have my cake and eat it, too." Rather, I try to do as much as possible to see and please as many people as possible. In all honesty, more than I am selfish, I am a people-pleaser--or, as I have heard it more appropriately named, an approval suck.

I want your approval. I want you to like me. I want to make everybody happy.

I have been like this for as long as I can remember. In my relationships, in my friendships, with my teachers, with my family. All I ever wanted was for everyone to be happy.

The only problem is, sometimes elating the world leaves little time for one's own enjoyment. I know, if all I want is to see everyone else happy, wouldn't doing so make me happy? Not when the task I've set before myself is so impossible. It is rather empirically improbable, if not impossible, to make everyone I know happy. Not only because I am not the only force and influence in their lives (although my vanity might argue otherwise), but also because sometimes--if you really, truly love someone-- what you have to say will not make them happy.

In truth, I cannot love you without disagreeing with you. I'm not even sure if I can love you without hurting you. Sure, I have comforted people out of love, but I have also angered people out of love. I have lost friendships out of love. That stings the most.

I didn't say the things just to be right. As a matter of fact, hurting people I love doesn't feel right, at all. Granted, I will admit that my tact in these situations isn't the greatest, but if they really love me, then they should understand, too. They should know that I realize how selfish I am, but what I really want is their happiness.

In this way, I am not selfish enough. I spread myself too thin. I have allowed others to walk on me in the name of keeping a friendship-- but is it really a friendship then? Or a lie?

When it comes to boys, I don't think I could ask someone to choose me over all else-- because I want him to choose me. I want it to be his choice, not my ultimatum. And I want him to be my choice, as well.

I won't even get started on how much I want to please my family.

All of this, however, wears me out. It drains me. And when something isn't "right," I want to fix it. I run scenarios through my head all day and horrible dreams/nightmares haunt me all night.

Noticing all of this, a friend recently told me that I don't know how to relax. Perhaps there's truth in this. And in this way, I am not selfish enough. I need to learn how to take time out for me. However, I believe it is a lesson that will take time in itself. So, here's to time.