I doubt anyone likes to see the bad parts of themselves. Many of us hide them in denial. Others, perhaps maddened by their discovery, blow these flaws into exaggeration.
We are human, flawed by nature. We have no choice in the matter. No matter how much perfection we wish to obtain we'll always be a step away. An infinite race against an opponent we'll never catch. But knowing this doesn't soften the blow of personal revelations that we do not like to see in ourselves.
It's easy to see flaws in others and judge them. It's not always as easy to see their merits an bless them. I am a watcher, an observer. I always have been. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself an amateur archaeologist, sociologist or even a psychologist, but I can sometimes see things that others miss. Perhaps that's presumptuous of me. However, watching the world around me I've learned to let the mistakes that others make go. Mistakes and learning from them is part of our life long task of living.
I've been busy watching the mistakes and triumphs of others and not turning my attentions inwards. This weekend I was. I found something I didn't like. It's something I knew existed but never made sense to me until now. I'm selfish.
I'm not selfish with money, food or gifts, at least not terribly so. I'm kind and always willing to help a friend. But the problem is not the giving of physical goods and services but that of the heart and spirit. I do not want to give up those things which are so precious and special to me. I don't really know why either.
I went to a friends wedding this weekend. Early on I wasn't sure if I should go or not, even if I wanted to go or not. But I knew that it would be a wedding present better than anything I could buy her if I went. So I did. I knew she'd be happy about it and she was. Now that may sound selfless, but its not. I knew how happy it would make her and THAT is why I did it. It would give me praise and love from her. The smiles I got because I came were for ME.
At the rehearsal dinner and at the reception I was quiet and polite. Keeping out of the way and enjoying the festivities as more of an observer than a participant. I didn't belong to either family and though I am viewed as a more of a brother to my friend who got married, I felt like an outsider. More so because I was the only male friend of the bride and I simply felt out of place and uncomfortable with the groomsmen.
Part of me wanted to stand up and make my presence known. I wanted them all to know who I was and why I was there. I wanted to be a center of attention. But I wouldn't allow myself that, either night. So I kept back and out of the way so as not to interfere with everyone's good time. Many might say that because I didn't do or say anything to steal the limelight, even for a moment, that I was being selfless, not selfish, but I disagree. The desire was still firmly there in my heart and in my head as much as I despised it's presence. I was not about to ruin or taint in any way the most important day of a very good friends life. However in my silence and antisocial behavior I stuck out more than had I just relaxed and taken a little bit of limelight away, if not from the bride and groom, perhaps some of the other dancers, drinkers and merry makers.
It's a good thing little girls forgive easily. I made one almost cry and later become mad at me because I wouldn't dance with her. I did the first time, reluctantly. It was fun, but when the song was over I was ready to hide away again. I'm quite ashamed of that. Later she wanted me to dance with her once more, before the last song was over and I let my stubbornness and my fatigue, as it was nearly midnight, take over. She forgave me later and fell asleep in my lap on the way home, a little angel, but because of my selfishness I hurt her, even if for only a little bit.
I do this more often than I care to consider to another very beautiful and sweetheart (I'll refrain from calling her an angel, per her request). I know I don't do these things on purpose. I never want to or mean to hurt anyone with my selfishness. I am a very stubborn man and when it comes to my feelings it's even worse, especially when you are taking me from my safety zones.
It's safe to blend into the background. When you're not the center of attention you can't screw up. You're not responsible. It makes me a coward as well. But when you do nothing, you're life becomes nothing. I have very few stories exciting fun stories about my life. I can tell you about things I've done but they are more of a historical record than a good story. I was always so busy watching others live those lives. I suppose we cannot all be the super stars. There has to be someone to make note of history rather than live it, but it's a depressing thing if you cannot own it, take it in and make it who you are.
So that leaves me in a place of contradiction On one hand I sit back and watch the world. The other I am to be an active participant. I have built around my life as close to a harmony as I can perhaps get. I keep a very small and select group of friends and prefer small groups where I don't feel uncomfortable being an active participant. There are those who highly encourage me to become more social, but as I've gotten older I know that is not me and to force myself into situations where I'm not comfortable isn't always the right answer. Sometimes you have to push yourself to grow of course but in this area I don't want to. Why? Because I can get the best of both worlds. I can be selfish with my feelings and just watch rather than participate. But I can also share with my close friends and family when I choose to, taking a small pleasure in knowing these people get a taste of me that many others will not get to see.
I've totally lost my original train of thought, but the free flow of thoughts In this writing are worth posting regardless. Perhaps I will ponder on this more and write again later. Though I suspect that I will retire my brain for the rest of the evening. My heart is still reaching out, but for that, only the recipient knows why.
To all my friends and family that read this, please comment below. Feed my need for selfish attention if you will. Maybe I'm not alone in my feelings. Part of me wants to believe that most others fight these internal battles as well, but as a watcher, I cannot see the internal, only the external of my subjects.