I want to know what you are thinking. Each time you look at me with a little confusion, a little displeasure, I want to know what I did wrong. I want to know what you are thinking about me — the rest of your thoughts are yours. I am selfish in that way. I don’t mean to be – I call your other thoughts your own privacy, I am giving you the freedom of independent thought. In reality, I am so invested in my own thoughts that I am too busy to consider yours. I am not ready for your world.
This doesn’t mean I am not pensive, attentive, and loving. I care about what you are thinking, how you are feeling, and what excites you. But I don’t know how to ask you. I don’t know how to talk about the weather or joke about the day without your guidance. I need you to tell me when it is time to stop. I need you to help me slow down my thoughts, but this is not your job.
What you want confuses me; I feel like I am giving you everything I have, yet you don’t want it. When you tell me what you want it doesn’t make sense to me — When I try to understand you my behavior seems to bother you. I want to know what you are thinking so you can tell me what I should be doing. I am not ignoring your thoughts, I am trying to figure out how to make you more comfortable. I don’t see it easily so I have to think. I have to reflect and sit in introspection. I have to do an incredible amount of work so that I can stay in the moment, resisting the temptation to launch into conversation. This takes me to Jungian methods and hours of reflection. I write for hours trying to suss out my thoughts; Which ones are selfish and which ones are pure. I question everything so that I may have the answer to one thing: What do you think of me?
“What do I think of you? I think a thousand things about you.” This is the closest thing to a truthful answer that I will ever get. I could ask 50 people who they think I am and if they think I am living my life well, and I would get 50 different answers. We are funny that way — we don’t make up our minds so quickly. This is not a mistake in human judgment; rather we cannot give perfect answers to imperfect questions. And for the first time in my life, this answer makes sense to me; I am ok with it.
There is clarity within this radical change of acceptance and understanding. I had tried my entire life to find that one answer and I realized I was looking for something that wasn’t there. I was seeking guidance by asking for approval — I wanted you to tell me that I was eccentric, intelligent, handsome, bold, passionate, courageous, odd, intolerable, inefficient, surprising, anything! I wanted to be able to define myself through your eyes. And in one fell swoop that life was shattered. Everything I was so accustomed to, all the snarled up ropes that held my life together were cut down, and I was left alone; a mirror my only audience. I had to talk to this mirror; if I truly wanted an answer I would have to ask him, and I did.
To truly change something, it is necessary to understand it. And that is what I set out to do: Understand myself, by myself, according to myself. I had guidance to be sure, but I would no longer be given answers. My guides do not offer answers; instead, they offered to wait. I poured through the pages of my heart without judgment. I allowed my mind to wander and kept it stable without trying to control it. I didn’t need to look for answers this time; I was the answer to every question I had ever asked. I found that my biggest enemy, the one who always told me which direction to go, the one who never asked me what I wanted, was me. To excuse my behavior and satisfy my confusion I created a world where nobody understood me, and nobody wanted me. I had created something hateful, without love and compassion. Everything in this world was a mirror pointed directly back at me — nobody told me who I was. I had destroyed myself all on my own.
But this discovery was not met with hopelessness. Rather I finally knew what I needed to do to find happiness in this life. I saw where I had taken myself astray — I saw myself clearly, not all bad and not all good. I am imperfect, and the thought that I have to be otherwise is a delusion of power and control. I saw the things I was lacking and how that emptiness made me lash out in various ways. I saw that my actions were directly connected to how I felt about myself; My judgment of others, my anger, my jealousy, my insecurities — these were all manifestations of my creation.
This life is maintained with introspection and honest reflection. The beauty and the work are behind the curtain; it’s where all of my confidence is built. All of my actions, everything that you see, has been constructed before I even leave the house. If you want to know how I am doing, if I still sit with myself, and examine my day, pay attention to my actions. Listen to the way I speak, look into my eyes. I no longer need you to tell me how I am feeling; I know if I have put in the work. The outcome of any given situation, while certainly not predetermined, can be traced directly back to the amount of work I have done on myself. When I lash out with anger, lust, or greed, you will know in that instant how little I am doing. When I am calm, enthusiastic, excited, and involved you have no need to wonder if I am ok — today, my actions are my voice and my words come last. I cannot prove myself with words and the words of others cannot hurt me the way they once had. There was a time when I wanted to tell you all that I knew, but that is no longer necessary. When met with disapproval I need only check back in with my mirror; he knows the truth. When I have accomplished something the first person I want to tell is myself, for I know I cannot exaggerate, minimize, or lie to myself any longer.
Nothing in my life is designed, it never was, at least not by me! The only thing that I can control is how much effort I put into doing the next right thing. When I sit with myself and examine my day, it is all that I can do, but it is enough. It leads me to a possibility; it takes me where I need to be.
Today I am proud of myself, without ego or false pride. I know how hard I have worked, and I know that you can see it too. I know that sometimes my best self just isn’t meant for everybody. I am not hurt by this; I don’t see it as rejection — This life has given me the freedom to know that you have your choices, and most of the time they have nothing to do with me.
It is a struggle at times, but it is in this struggle that I find the ability to accept myself for who I am.