Im an only child so I always knew I could be selfish more often than most, but I never saw my self as egotistical or self centered. Those adjectives seemed too severe to describe a little childhood flaw. So I went through life, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.When people distanced themselves from me, I wondered why, but ultimately came to the conclusiom that THEY had the problem. For months, I was afraid of really knowing and addressing the real issue. But one day I did. I came calmly and respectfully to someone who’d been around me for a long time and asked her why she had a problem with me.
She brought forth an avalanche of issues dealing with my complete disregard of those around me. She told me, as nicely as she could, that it was “who I was” that was the problem. My whole mindset was self centered and this mindset enabled me to say and do anything to those around me without regard to their feelings. She was right. I never thought about how I came off to other people because, frankly, I didn’t care. In middle school, I was teased and bullied often and was afraid to speak up for myself. When I did get the courage to defend myself, I was surprised that people started to respect me. They stopped teasing me and began to see me as an equal. It was then that I vowed that I would always tell the truth no matter what. Over time, the pendulum swung too far. My honesty became insensitivity, my insensitivity became outright rudeness.
The famous line of Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror”, goes “I’m gonna make a change, for once my life…”. There are points in life when you have to change, but these moments don’t just happen once in your life. They happen over and over again. I thought I had finally shed my timid, insecure middle school persona and become the strong, opinionated woman that people would want to befriend. But I found that I had actually changed from “the bullied” to the “the bully”. I had to change. Again.
Change isn’t easy. The first step is having an open heart and mind. I regretted that this girl had not told me earlier about my behavior. I wouldn’t have an opportunity to show her that I could change, but I realized she didn’t matter at all. I believe in God and I believe he puts some people in your life to teach you the leassons you need to learn when you need to learn them. I looked back and realized she wasn’t the first person to attempt to relay this message. But I wasn’t ready to really hear it and apply it to my life.
I’m not completely reformed. I still find myself thinking selfish thoughts, but at least now I know that listening is more important than speaking.
As of now I am a work in progress. But, I suppose we all are.