Thoughts by Richard Bleil
And there it is. Summer is about to come to a close. In about two weeks, classes will begin again, and I’m left wondering what happened. Soon they will be replacing my roof, but I’ve not accomplished much more. I’ve not been zip lining, I’ve not built a garden, heck, I haven’t even fired up my oversized and overpriced grill and smoker yet. And summer is nearly over.
Today, I came to a realization. I spend far too much time alone, doing next to nothing. But, if a friend asks me to do something, there’s very little that I won’t do for them. They can ask me nearly anything, and no favor is too large for them.
The truth is that I don’t want to disappoint them. If I let them down, I feel terrible. But, at the same time, I’ve let myself down, have done so for nearly the entire summer now, and continue to do say nearly every day. But the question becomes, why is it so much easier for me to disappoint myself, than it is my friends? Shouldn’t I be as important as my friends in my head, and my heart?
It’s a staggering realization to recognize that you don’t come in first in your own heart. Recognizing this is the first step to correcting the situation, but I have no idea how to correct it. After a lifetime of putting yourself behind others, how do you reorder your heart?
It is possible, and probably preferable, to be nice while still putting your own needs above those of others. Yes, I can help people, yes, I can do them favors, but maybe it’s time to realize that I need to treat my own desires and goals as if they are favors for my friends. I still want to disassemble a pallet that my carport arrived on and use the wood for projects in my basement, such as building a cage for boxes I’ve been keeping in case I need them in the future.
I have many projects I would like to be working on, such as the cage for the boxes. I also have a plan to build a workbench in the basement, intended to become part of the house. I still want to build a garden, write two books (one a thermodynamics book, the other a fiction horror book), write and test a program for predicting crime and so forth. It would be nice, honestly, to mount a fan into my ceiling to exhaust hot air trapped upstairs into the attic.
I find it doesn’t work if a friend asks me to do something that I want to do for myself. I realize that the “favor” is not really for my friend, so I might start in earnest, but I can’t keep it up. I do suffer from what seems to be a mild form of perhaps obsessive-compulsive disorder. Perhaps I can use this to my advantage. Once I get motivated and start doing something, I really don’t enjoy stopping until the job is done. This is what keeps me going until I’m satisfied that the job is complete, which means that if I can find a way to get started on my projects, it should help me to complete them. I just struggle with getting started.
My blog, by the way, is a good example of this. It’s not normal (whatever normal is) to post a blog with a minimum of 750 words every day for, what is it now? Going on four years? There are days it’s not easy to write blog posts, although admittedly some days it’s quite easy. But only somebody who is obsessive and compulsive can keep up this pace for as long as I have.
So, now that I realize that I need to put myself first, how do I do it? This all stems from my childhood, when I was not given the emotional support, the encouragement, and the praise that I should have. I know I have mentioned before that I was, indeed, emotionally abused, which has resulted in a half century belief that I’m not as worthy as anybody else. I’ve been put in the back by my own family, so of course I still put myself behind others. That’s a long time of self-denigration, so it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch to turn it off. Still, recognizing the problem is the first step to figuring out how to defeat it. I just wish I figured this out forty years ago.