A New Year’s Self-Reflection: Three Things About Myself That I’d Like To Change in 2018

I’m pretty sure it’s required by law that any article on self-reflection requires a picture of a mirror at this point.
Source: Her Campus

Now that we’re well into 2018, I, like many people, am taking the time to look back at myself and my actions and attempt to do some self-improvement.

Of course, most people focus on the purely physical – exercising more, eating well, quitting smoking, etc. I don’t hear a whole lot about people resolving to fix perceived emotional or personality flaws. Which is why I’m identifying three things about my personality that I want to improve or completely fix by this time next year. Let’s start with what I feel is my biggest problem…

I’m too nice for my own good

I admit that I have a habit of letting people push me around and use me as a tool to get their work done. Honestly, I don’t mind helping and I actually enjoy it most days.

But the key word there is HELP. As in, to render assistance and aid to another. NOT, as many seem to think, shoulder the responsibility by my lonesome.

Let me put this in context; When I’m not writing every week (a strenuous mental practice as is), I work a 40-hour-a-week overnight job as a custodian at a highway rest stop. I care for both sides of the highway, do a lot of heavy lifting and cover 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) on foot nightly (thanks for the info, Fitbit). What’s more, I often forgo breaks just so I have enough time to get everything done right and the third shift schedule that works me on weekends keeps me from being with the people I care about.

Long story short, I am a very tired, extremely stressed out man who doesn’t have the time or energy to do all of your bull**** for you.

The good news is that I am getting better in this regard and calling out lazy people that just want me to work for them with no recompense. Like I said, I WANT to help; You just need to meet me halfway.

I don’t trust people who smile a lot

I’d like to think I’m not some miserable guy who harbors resentment against happy people. But, when I think about the state of the world, I often find myself thinking, “you can’t be THAT happy in THIS state and be a healthy, functioning human.”

Obviously, that’s not true and on a practical level, I know that. But when I see someone who seems to have a permanent ear-to-ear, Chesire Cat grin on their face, my first instinct is to assume that they A) have some kind of ulterior motive or B) have never had a real problem in their lives and completely devoid of critical thought.

See, I’m one of those people who wears his emotions on his sleeve. I don’t like to smile or laugh unless it’s something REALLY worth being happy about because my mind to busy being flood by other, more important thoughts. Call it the “Daria Morgendorffer school” of thought.

Basically, I need to teach myself that there is stuff worth being happy about and force myself to see it and let myself enjoy it once in a while. In the meantime, I’ll be content with kicking Markiplier’s ass in those Try Not To Laugh challenges of his (Note to self: using sarcasm self-deprecating humor to mask my joyless nature probably isn’t healthy either).

I overwhelm myself far too easily

If I’m being honest with myself, I have a quite the knack for both taking on multiple large projects and not being happy until I’ve finely detailed them to nigh perfection.

Now, some would argue that over-ambitiousness and perfectionism are admirable problems to have. But that doesn’t change the fact that they ARE problems. I stress myself out until I need to quit because I work something until I break (If you’ve been following for a while, you’ve seen me take stress leave on this blog quite a few times). I also put off doing some things because they aren’t EXACTLY like I want them to be (THAT would be the main reason why I haven’t started doing videos like I wanted to).

I need to force myself to only take things one-at-a-time and accept that some of them won’t be perfect immediately.

What I’m trying to say is that I want to cut down on the downtime this year and really push to get part of my evergrowing to-do list off the ground.

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The Agent’s Wrath (or How I Learned To Appreciate Small Moments Of Happiness When I Find Them)

To all of you comic book fans out there, you know why I don’t want to become this.
Source: Injustice: Gods Among Us Wiki

I have a nagging fear that hangs in the back of my mind. It’s a fear that many people have assured me is unfounded and all evidence is to the contrary, but it still bothers me.

I’m afraid of my own anger.

In a previous article, I’ve mentioned how anger can be used as a force for change when it is controlled, justified, and directed towards the cause of the problem proper rather than misguided towards innocents or the mere symptoms. The goal of that exercise was to illustrate how our emotions have no positive or negative force until we give it a purpose.

That said, one of the worst things you can do with anger is allow it to linger and become toxic. The longer anger lingers, the more likely it is – in my experience – to morph into bitter hatred.

This is a problem no matter how you look at it. While anger can and has proven its worth as a motivator, there has never been an instance in which hate has been justified.

As I define it, the difference between anger and hate is a matter of control. Anger can make you want to change a problem and can be quelled; hate will make want to destroy things that may not be the problem and can’t be easily halted.

Even as a child, growing up in a less than ideal environment where my teachers failed to look after us and the streets were hardly safe, I found a had built up a great deal of anger towards those that did me harm. And by do me harm, I mean I was sent to hospitals with broken bones and head injuries that were somehow deemed my fault despite witnesses to the contrary.

I admit to you all what I feel is my greatest weakness, I hate.

I hate dealing with co-workers that refuse to do their jobs and leave everything me.

I hate listening to people blame me for their inconvenience when the situation is clearly out of my control.

I still hate the people that hurt and tortured my friends and myself daily and made me afraid to go to school as a child.

But worst of all, I hate myself for not being better; for lacking the ability to rise above my hate and leave the toxic environment that helped to spawn it.

There is, however, one good thing that has come from my lingering anger. It has taught me to appreciate happiness.

Comedian Dennis Leary once said that, “Happiness comes in small doses.” In my experience, he could not have been more right. It is because true joy is so rare in a world of anger and frustration that we need to cherish them as much as possible.

It’s rare that I find happiness in things, but when I do, those are the greatest moments of my life and I try to share them with the people that I love.

What’s more, it’s the hope of knowing that another small happy moment will eventually come that gives me the strength to fight my hate for one more day.

I long for that day when I can play a game of cards with my friends or watch a live performance with family or even just get a complement from a total stranger. Because those are the moments that remind me that my life is worth living and that this world and its people are worth living for.

What I’m trying to say here is that hate and uncontrollable anger win out when we stop recognizing the joy, happiness, and love that exist in the world. In the words of Buddha, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”