Using faults to my advantage in my 30’s

No one is perfect. I could list several things I don’t like about myself: I’m fatter than I want to be, I’m moodier than I want to be, my hair never falls right until I’m about to go to sleep – by myself – otherwise I look like I might as well have stuck my finger in a lightsocket… because that’s life. It’s also true that when I run into someone I don’t want to, I’m in a terrible state:

  • once, I’d just stopped crying and was blotchy and sniffly and could barely breathe.
  • once, I was on my way to a very formal meeting with my boss and I saw someone I wanted to say several things to that would’ve resulted in me being sent home, or fired.
  • once, I’d walked into a doorframe and lost my balance – turned around and there was an old colleague of mine watching and laughing… ok, I probably would’ve had the same reaction, but still.
  • once, I fell asleep on the beach and woke up to a ball in the head and, of course, an ex-mate (cooler, more popular than me and smug: as if she’d done it on purpose) had thrown it. Drool coming down the side of my face and everything – it was beyond cringe-worthy.
  • this list could go on forever…

But that’s not what this post is about. This is about the fundamental characteristics we are born with or develop (insert a nature vs nurture debate here) to make us who we are. I believe our faults can also be positive attributes, but only if kept in check. So my fault, the one that tops all the others and is both the reason I have difficulties connecting with people and the reason for my successes… is that I’m aggressive. I believe everyone can be aggressive when they want are pushed in that direction, but I am fundamentally aggressive in my personality. Fortunately, this did not manifest as violence and I’ve never been in a fight in my life, but I am aggressive.

I’m aggressive in getting what I want. When I set my mind to something, I will do/get/see it. It’s the reason that I have had as much success as I have thus far in my life. … But it’s also the reason I can offend people quite easily. And why I can be more hurtful than I intend and more blunt that anyone ever should. I’ve been laughing it off with some mates lately and saying things like ‘no wonder I’m single’ but honestly, it’s not a joke! This is why I’m single… I can flirt and everything is going well and then date 1 passes well and date 2 passes well and then I think ‘hey I like this guy’ and instead of continuing the game that is dating like a normal person I will lay it all out on the table very directly: ‘hey, I like you, I think this could be great, where is it headed?’ etc etc. It’s not that I mind either way, but I like to get to the point. If you like me, say so. If you don’t, say so. I won’t get my feelings hurt, I’m aware that not every pair of people in this world will get on well and that even if you do get on, it doesn’t mean that it’s romantically. I get on quite well with my mates, but I could never imagine crossing the ‘relationship’ threshhold with them. That’s where most of the comfort comes from! I’m also not what men like to call the ‘crazy bitch’ in that I want to jump straight into a relationship. I just want to lay everything out on the table. I hate time wasting, in dating, relationships of any kind and especially at work!

At work is another area that I have to be very careful about my aggression. I was once called out on my ‘bitch face’ in a meeting skills training course. The facilitator said something along the lines of ‘no matter what, you have to act engaged and not let your true opinions show through your body language; like what she’s doing right there’ and pointed directly at me. I was shocked that he’d called me out on it, but I was bored stupid and hiding it was the last thought on my mind, so no, I wasn’t shocked when he said he could read my emotions on my ‘bitch face’. Information requests are also a difficulty for me. Most people go up to someone and ask for information something like this:

‘Hi, how are you? how’s the family? is that a new dress? I love the colour! yadda yadda yadda… oh, and by the way, can I get those numbers? Thanks, and can’t wait to hear more about blah blah blah…’

Here’s how I do it:

‘Good morning, do you have those numbers I asked for? Thanks’ and I walk away.

WHO HAS TIME FOR ALL THE FLUFF? Of the two examples above, one is definitely more efficient (mine) but one is definitely kinder, friendlier and dedicated to creating a positive working environment (literally anyone else’s). So my issue is that my determination and my lack of wanting to do anything other than what will simplify the task at hand, is then construed as aggression. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut in most instances, particularly in the office, but I have to make a concerted effort at keeping my opinions to myself whenever I possibly can.

Arguments with me are not fun things. I know this. If someone is ignorant, I will call them ignorant. If someone is petulant, I will tell them they’re being petulant. I seem to have missed the class where everyone else was taught tact. I don’t always think I’m right and I will happily listen to altering perspectives, and often further research whatever point is being made. If I’m uneducated in a topic, I will not debate it, and I truly believe that all the differing opinions, beliefs, cultures, etc. are what make our world so incredible. But if someone comes at me with a biased, uninformed opinion that directly affects me then look out (i.e. my ex once tried to slut shame me – only once).

This also means that I don’t have time for drama. We all have that 1 friend (or 2 or 3 or 4) that is always full of drama. Don’t get me wrong, I have heaps of stories and things happening in my life too that some may call drama, but for this purpose, I mean drama to be the whinging, complaining, ‘the sky is falling’ reaction to everything. FML? I was SO angry when I found out what that meant!!! There was a phase where everyone was posting FML on facebook…

‘I just burned the cookies I was baking! FML’

‘My car just cost me $300 to repair! FML’

‘FML I can’t believe the cost of drinks on this cruise ship’

‘My boyfriend’s annoying me. FML’

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Stop over exaggerating please! Some people can’t afford a car or a cruise or don’t have a home to bake in or a boyfriend to annoy them – let alone have access to the internet to complain about these trivial things where they have no business being advertised. These first world problems are annoying enough and yes, we all have them and I’ve even written about a few of them… but I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet because of them! Take the Dr I was dating as an example: he wasn’t as interested as me, or he was just too busy. Whatever the case, I didn’t head to social media about how much my life sucked! My life doesn’t suck, it was just a bad combination of two people. Get over it. My most annoying example lately is a friend of mine was recently dumped by her boyfriend and she was a couple days late with her cycle. When it finally came (only 2 days late after a ton of international travel) she messaged me ‘OMG I thought I was pregnant… that would have ruined my life… imagine if I was… just imagine!!! … what should I have done?… do you think I should have told him?… what do you think I should have done?… etc’ I can only deal with so much before my aggressive nature comes out and I have no more patience. I told her something along the lines of ‘well, good thing you never have to consider any of that since it didn’t actually happen’ and I had to ignore her pleas for attention for a couple days after that. It’s not the best thing I could do, but I had my own problems I had to ACTUALLY deal with and I didn’t want to delve into hypothetical ones as well.

I do my best to be a good friend and I have managed to keep a handful of best friends that are scattered around the world. My aggressive nature forces a lack of patience in my but it also creates a ferocity in me that I will do anything and everything I can to help a friend. I love with all of my heart when I do let someone in… it’s just a matter of getting in! So in my case, I have recently come to terms with just quite how aggressive I come across (which manifests in sarcasm, rude humour and a complete lack of empathy as well) and I’m working on calming it down at least a bit!

But I have to say that without that aggression I wouldn’t have this determination, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. So despite it being what I would probably consider my greatest fault, it has also resulted in what I consider to be my greatest achievements.

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