Day 21: Starting Off Winning

I wish I was feeling better, but I’m not – oh well.

I’ve at least kept the blog going as part of this process. I’ve been debating on doing anything as “penance” for not getting the other things on my routine done while I’ve been sick, but no – the point is not to punish myself and thus avoid “failure.” The point of this process is to help build an internal dialogue with myself, to become more familiar with me.

I’ve been sick before, and I’ll be sick again – again that desire for “penance” is just another way I’ll de-rail myself. Rather than focus on everything I’ve done, I’m focusing on what I haven’t done – while I’ve been sick – and taking care of my sick son. There’s a familiar voice in my head telling me to just start over – which is BS. If I “started over” I’d just use it as an excuse to wait for the “right time” to start again and then keep going with what I was doing previously.

Wow, I have a lot of resentment toward my romantic partners – past and present. I’m always trying to make life better, make myself better, to understand them better – but they don’t seem to have any interest in understanding me better or making themselves better.

I don’t know that it’s “right” to feel this way, and in a lot of instances, I’m trying to understand my wife better so that I’m more likely to get what I want. But hell that’s the basis of all human interaction – it’s cold and unidealized, but it’s reality – it’s something I don’t want to believe either.

But I’m tired of my needs and wants being put in the backseat to everyone else’s. I need to stand up for myself and what I want more and just simply tell people. I’m tired of living by default.

There’s an idea I’ve come across in both Taoism and Stoicism that you should “stop trying” because it will usually push what you want farther away. I think that’s what being “nice” is as well as anything that tries to force change on another person – i.e. make them into who you would like them to be instead of letting them be who they would like to be.

Setting expectations for a relationship and then being strong enough to walk away when the relationship isn’t working is something I’ve always had a hard time with (as do most “nice guys” from what I’ve learned).

You can’t force someone to be something they’re not and trying to manipulate them into something by love bombing them or what have you will only make them resent you.

You have to set clear expectations/boundaries and then enforce those boundaries and expectations – then most importantly you have to be willing to walk away from the relation if the other side isn’t living up to the agreement.

This is why “covert contracts” are so insidious. Things go unsaid, expectations go unstated, boundaries go undefined, and resentment builds. Then there’s an inevitable blow-up and the other side will often use it as an excuse to end the relationship. Or they’ll threaten to end the relationship in hopes of manipulating the one who is clearly more invested in the relationship to grant concessions for objectively shitty behavior. I’ve seen this go both ways, and I’ve been involved both ways to one degree or another.

So why the hell am I keeping up with these journals? They’re rambling and jump around a lot.

I’m hoping someone might get something useful from raw thoughts and emotion, but I’m also cataloging this stuff for later. As part of this process I’ve been building a healthier model for engaging the world and with the beginnings of that model I’ll really have something to offer. Yeah there’s some narcissism involved but that aspect has been diminishing – thankfully.


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