Monday, October 6, 2014

When someone else's discovery shines a ray of light deep into the darkest bits

I found this post on a badass lady website. She asked her ex's to tell her why she wasn't girlfriend material. That kind of self-examination takes guts. Like GUTS spilling out on the floor. And she wrote an article about it!

What she got was some lighter 'it wasn't you it was me' but the blinding light for me came from this response...

You struck me, as you likely do everybody else, as a very sharp and funny woman who is quite easy to talk to. You also happen to be extremely good-looking. All positives, in my book. You also struck me as unique in how immediately frank and forthright you were in conversation. Your frankness was refreshing and exciting and often funny, and it certainly didn't ring any alarm bells when you talked openly about things like career, family, sex, etc.
That said, your frankness often drifted into straight-up confession, as if you wanted to lay out everything that was potentially difficult, disappointing or problematic about yourself on the table immediately. As someone who also has a confessional streak, I can understand this, but I know from experience that it's best to play certain things close to the chest when hanging out with someone new, especially a potential romantic partner. 
You have a ton of remarkable weapons in your arsenal –- smarts, looks, wit, a cool job, a justly celebrated rack –- but you strike me as a woman who can't resist undermining herself from time-to-time. Perhaps you like to air your self-doubt and less flattering qualities off the bat in an effort to preempt greater disappointment or embarrassment down the line, or maybe you've developed an attachment to the idea of yourself as a tragic romantic figure, or maybe something totally different. I don't think it's a great strategy, though, as people tend to believe anything you tell them (me included, apparently).
When a person is eager to catalogue their faults early on, it's hard not to start instinctively thinking of that person as TROUBLE and anticipate a fraught experience with a lot of complications and psychic tension and gloom. It's also hard not to think of that person as simply not being happy and/or not feeling good about themselves (as everybody knows, confidence and a high self-opinion are very attractive in men and women, unless you're some sort of sociopath).
Of course, most of my relationships HAVE been filled with complications and psychic tension and gloom, but I, like most others, like to adopt a kind of willful ignorance of these eventualities on early dates to set the goodwill groundwork. It seemed to me that you were unconsciously trying to undermine this rosiness by really running with a warts-and-all technique. I think this here article is actually great example of your confessional streak and eagerness to air your perceived faults and troubles. 
The author admits that this ex touched on something she already knew but seemed to have a very hard time changing: that she sabotages herself by spotlighting her flaws, telling herself that she prefers this flat-out admission of being less than perfect rather than just putting only her very best, albeit edited, self forward.
 I think that I do this as well.
With everyone.  How do I edit without being unkind to myself? Or is the kind thing to edit?

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