“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” -Laozi
My therapist says I am a pleaser. I have come to understand this as a negative thing and definitely a piece of my personality that I am happy to leave in the past. For me, it means that I lack assertiveness and I tend to morph my personality into what the people around me want. For example, I once paid $300 for a ticket to go to the SEC championship football game with an ex-boyfriend. At the time, I honestly believed I was willing to pay this absurd amount of money (especially absurd as I was still in college at the time) because I just loved UGA football so much. As it turns out, I was lying to myself. The football season after we broke up, I didn’t buy a ticket to a single game and was ecstatic to instead enjoy mimosas at a bar (the air-conditioning was heavenly compared to the heat of the stadium), where I would pay attention to approximately 25% of the game*. I now understand that, to an extent, I enjoyed the things that he enjoyed simply because it was easy and comfortable to take on someone else’s interests. I wanted to be in a stable relationship more than I wanted to express my own personality. This has been a central theme my whole life; I want to please the people around me rather than proclaim certain things about my views and interests that might make someone not like me (gasp – the horror!). I was just your friendly, lovable mirror; my subconscious screamed to anyone I met, “What do you enjoy? I’ll reflect it all back for you as long as you promise to like me.”
*Disclaimer: I still love the Dawgs, I just love the Dawgs at a much lower price point and with a much lower attention span than I once believed.
Knowing my struggles, my therapist suggested that I write down what I believe defines me so that I can grow in self-love and generally gain a sense of self. I’ve broken it down into three aspects: Who am I? What do I believe? What do I love? While this is very personal and very much something that will benefit me, I am writing it here rather than in my journal for two groups of people. For anyone reading this, I hope it prompts you to develop an understanding of what defines you. Beyond that, this is selfishly for anyone who knows me well and cares for me – If you sense a hint of me reverting back to my old ways and not owning my personality, you have permission to yell at me.
I am, I believe, I love
First and foremost, I am an intellectual to my core (see right) and I question everything. While this wasn’t considered cool when I was in middle school, I like to think it’s pretty cool now. Reading or studying with an alcoholic or caffeinated beverage in hand is my personal heaven. I can vividly picture my future self sipping a (large) glass of red wine on my porch grading my students’ papers while the sun sets.
I am a perfectionist turned overachiever turned achiever. I used to consider 98th percentile in anything academic “not good enough”. Now I am happy with anything if I am using my talents to add value to society (maybe while earning a little bit of praise along the way – I suppose you can’t change everything).
I am a paradox in that I am extremely empathetic and extremely competitive.
I am an only child, for better or worse.
I am transparent and an extrovert. This means that I will be happy to disclose any and all of my life story to a stranger on the street if I think it will benefit them. This also means that I would make the world’s worst CIA employee.
I am a manager of risks, viewing the world through a lens of risks, rewards, and statistics – I will shamelessly morph into a mother and make you put your seat belt on if we are in the car together.
I am a health enthusiast – eating healthy and exercising are two of my greatest passions.
I am fun to be around. I enjoy social events and love relating to and connecting with other people.
I believe that life is a positive feedback loop; positivity breeds positivity and negativity breeds negativity.
I believe in simplicity and efficiency; I don’t ever want to make anything more difficult than necessary and I am happiest when my life is void of clutter.
I believe in creating value and that value exists in everyone.
I believe we are all connected.
I believe in a higher power, but I believe the odds are very low that any religion created by man has come close to understanding the true nature of that higher power.
I believe that I will find the purest form of joy by giving to the world everything that I have to offer.
I love deep conversations. If my life could just be one long deep conversation, I’d be pretty content.
I love music – taking in live music is my favorite activity and driving with the windows down and music loud is one of the best ways for me to relax.
I love giving advice/cheering people up/making people laugh.
I love reading about economics and psychology and sociology and philosophy and mathematics. I have also recently discovered that I love writing.
I love being outdoors and staying active.
I love being warm, regardless of the source (baths, fuzzy blankets, sunshine, and cuddling are some of my personal favorites).
I love wine and beer and coffee.
Most of all, I love people, but I especially love those people who understand me and help me grow.
I used to always really relate to the line “Think of me what you will, I’ve got a little space to fill” from Tom Petty’s You Don’t Know How It Feels. I tended to feel that I wasn’t fulfilled, and I looked to the people around me to fill me up. The song came on when I was driving back from the lake yesterday and, for the first time, I don’t feel like I have any space to fill – I feel filled up all on my own.
Who are you? What do you believe? What do you love?
This Week’s Highs
1. Sitting in the Suntrust Club at Turner Field with one of my most adventurous friends (aka the fanciest I have ever felt while wearing jean shorts)
2. Celebrating the birthday of the best roommate I could ask for
3.Reuniting with some great friends on Friday for some pizza, beer, and basketball
4. Learning that one of my close friends from high school got engaged this weekend (Congrats MK!)
5. Enjoying a three day weekend filled with hiking, wine tasting, live music, relaxing at the lake, and great people
This Week’s Lows
1. Erin and Benj v. Cockroach**:
In summary, a giant cockroach fell on me in the shower. My boyfriend attempted to kill it and managed to drop it on my leg when he was trying to transfer if to the toilet. He then heroically stuck his head under the running water, while fully clothed, to capture the cockroach again.
2. Giving into some anxiety on Friday for a few painful hours
3. Accidentally walking away from the cashier without paying for my lunch today (chalk it up to sleep deprivation – the four cups of coffee I drank yesterday did not serve me well at 2 am last night when I was trying to sleep)
**This is actually the third installment of this adventure, after Erin and Sarah v. Cockroach and Erin and Melissa v. Cockroach. The next chapter of this adventure will be My Apartment Complex’s Pest Control v. Cockroach.