There are certain things I don't think I'll ever grow out of, no matter how old I grow.
For example, I still feel slightly devastated inside when I think I've been left out of something, whether it's an in-joke, or a drink after work, or ANYTHING really. I try to ACT like it doesn't bother me, but deep down it eats away at me and I wonder why they chose ME to be excluded. I can't help but wonder what I've done wrong and every insecurity I have rears its ugly head.
I'm better at rallying back after one of these knocks to my confidence now, don't get me wrong. But I don't think I'll ever feel less hurt, less offended or less paranoid at that original hit. I just bruise way too easily (metaphorically AND literally).
And here's another.
I care too much about what other people think of me.
I know that we're not SUPPOSED to, but I can't help it. I don't want, for example, people to think I'm stupid. Like my second year Maths teacher at school who told my mum I was useless at maths and never would be good (funnily enough the second I left her class, I excelled at Maths - I don't think it was me, it was her teaching that faulted me. But at the time it stung.) Or the time I was off-site for the first time for work and because I didn't know where I was going, I nearly followed my male colleague into the toilets. The male toilets. And he looked at me like I was a total idiot and said "You DO realise this is the gent's, right?" and for weeks afterwards every time I thought about it I cringed inside and didn't want to look him in the eye.
One of these events happened approximately seventeen years ago. The latter happened three years ago. Not much changed in that time and not much has changed since.
It seems to be an innate personality trait of mine that I want everyone to like me, and I don't want people to think badly of me. If I think someone DISLIKES me, this too eats away at my inner psyche. WHY don't they like me? Have I done them wrong in some way, a way I don't remember? (You know me and alcohol and what the old vino can do to my memory on a night out! But then again, this problem pre-dates my drinking days.) Or is it just that I'm that hateful that they can't even bring themselves to try?
(I know deep down this isn't the case, but sometimes you just can't help being paranoid.)
The weird thing is with me, that even if I suspect they don't like me I have to keep trying, keep pushing. Keep making an effort.
(I wanted to find a clip to demonstrate this, but unfortunately I couldn't locate exactly what I was looking for. For "Friends" fans out there - do you remember the one where Monica threw a baby shower for Rachel and forgot to invite Rachel's mom? And all the way through the shower, Mrs Greene was being absolutely horrible to her, and she kept trying to be nice, over and over again? Until she snapped at her and said exactly what she thought? Then apologised for it? That's me . . . only without the honest part in the middle.)
Prime example of my own: about 9 years ago, I spent a few months working in a well-known department store in Glasgow. I started going out with one of the boys in my department and one of the Saturday girls, who clearly had a thing for him, didn't take kindly to this. She treated me like crap, and despite the fact that I was 22 and she was only about 17 and only THERE one day a week, she made me feel awful. One day we had to take the float up to the office together and for some reason I was STILL trying to make an effort with her, chatting away to her awkwardly while she replied in monosyllables.
Afterwards, I was so angry at myself for even TRYING. Why did I bother? It only made me feel like an idiot.
But you know . . . now I look back on that . . . now I think about it . . . actually surely I came across as the bigger person. She was the petty little girl who hated me because I was with a guy she would never get (and she never did. My friend ended up going out with him after me, so she didn't have a chance anyway) and I had tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and she threw it back in my face.
If anyone should have been embarrassed, it was her, not me.
It's happened again since (on several occasions - SERIOUSLY, apparently I'm that unlikeable to some! Can you believe it???) and thinking about it, I can apply that same logic to these other situations. Okay, someone doesn't like me. Okay, maybe they have their reasons, and maybe I will never understand them, but that doesn't mean I have to reciprocate the same behaviour they display towards me.
So I guess the conclusion is this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make an effort with someone, to reach out to them. But you have to know when it's time to just give up and move on.
Hopefully next time this happens, I will be able to do so.
Wow. Maybe I AM getting wiser after all . . . ;)
Is there any personality trait or flaw you feel you'll never grow out of?