It's not Me, it's You. Seriously. I was struck with this epiphany as I was out walking, berating myself for not meeting others' expectations, feeling inadequate, disappointing, and depressed. Then I realized that all these feelings are being generated from external forces, not from within. I feel battered by so many outside influences, so many people with expectations of how I should act, what I need to be doing to "succeed," how my feelings aren't appropriate, how much I have changed over time. And this doesn't even bring in the battering I am taking from the economy, job situation, housing. But I realized with near blinding clarity that really, It's Not Me, It's You.
How do I mean? There is no shame in being upset by failure. Even repeated failures that gnaw at my self-esteem like a hungry rat. There would be shame if I didn't learn from each failure, pick myself up and try again. I cannot expect to be eternally cheerful during these trying times, but I can find ways to bolster my own sense of self. That is a key word; "Self." Self is Me, it is Who I Am. Self is how I act and react, how I cope, how I perceive myself... My Self... not someone else's Self, but My Self. I am Me, like it or leave it.
Who am I? I am stubborn, self-reliant, optimistic, creative, solitary, calm, mercurial, manic, depressive, messy, neurotic, strong, fragile, athletic, tomboyish, empathic, empathetic, callous, carefree, careworn, caregiver, reckless, cautious, searching, finding, exploring, experimenting, honest, guarded, secretive, open, shielded, protective, protector. I am calculating, but willing to leap before I look. I plan and scheme, but am no stranger to U-turns in life. I shield myself, protect myself from injury, but am injured often. My shield often appears as anger, hostility, pride, sarcasm, unconcern, stubborness. Which are all ways of saying, "I can't care about what you think, feel, do, and can't let it affect me."
Where does this epiphany lead me with it's blinding light? To the knowledge and understanding that although I may change over time, mature, learn, grow, adjust... I cannot change who I am, how I act and react. And I don't have to. I have a strong sense of Self, I know who I am, what I am, what I want, and shouldn't have to feel wrong because this doesn't jive with what others think of me, what others expect. This Is My Self and I will do with it what I want. Like I said, It's Not Me, It's You.