I’m in my late twenties, but still have the worldview of a scared, directionless teenager. I’m about to lose my boyfriend because I act so selfishly all the time; and it’s true, I’ve been very spoiled my whole life and really haven’t had to work that hard. I’m afraid that I’ve become something of a flake.
I know I should be thankful, and I am, but ultimately I have trouble committing to anything, treat my life as if it will all happen in the future, expect my parents to help me when I’m in trouble (because they always have), and ultimately try not to make decisions as if I could stay neutral forever.
(Signed) I NEED TO CHANGE…but how can you become unselfish?
Brynne: Get out in the world and take some risks. Not hang-gliding risks, but emotional ones, employment ones. Cut yourself loose from your safety nets. Do anything that will force you to step up and cope. The only thing that will do that is to actually be strong and competent and you have your life set up so that you never have to be.
When I was 42, I was publicly humiliated both professionally and personally and it was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me. Was it painful? Like being skinned alive. Was it worth it? I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant another quantum leap in maturity, strength, compassion and grace. I’m not saying you should humiliate yourself, or set yourself up to fail. I’m saying it’s time to get out there and test yourself.
Cass: I was selfish. I stopped listening to the little voices of doubt and started to take more risks in life from small stupid ones like smiling at people, saying hello and socializing more, to applying for jobs I had always told myself I wouldnt get. I took control of my finances. I moved country for a job and broke up with my then boyfriend because I wanted to start over and was by myself for a year.
You can do it too. You have already acknowledged something has to change. Now you have to go about changing things, for the better. It takes patience and confidence but I am sure you will be fine.
AV1: The fact that you recognize you’re selfish is a big thing - sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves and our behavior clearly. I have a stepdaughter who’s in her mid-20s who has allowed her Dad and I to provide everything she needs up until very recently, when she started showing signs of recognizing when helping a family member turns into mooching.
Having clarity about the situation and wanting/needing to change is the first step toward growing as a person and coming into your own. You have to want it, anon, and work hard for it, esp. if your default position is taking the easy way out.
Ms Beth You’ve had your shake up. You recognize it. Now all you do is make individual choices that will empower you. You now know you need to stop and consider others before making a decision - do that and soon enough it will be second nature.
Maggie: I’d like you to consider the possibility that you are simply surrounding yourself with people with values that are different from yours. If your friends want to see a band and you want to go see a movie and you compromise too often? Eventually, you will balk and your emotional reaction will be disproportionate to the apparent conflict. If this sounds like a possibility, you need to stop addressing the apparent conflict and start addressing the underlying integrity.
Carly: The best way I got over my fear of failure was to fail out of college at 19, pick myself back up, get back into school and graduate 3 years later. It showed me that even if I do fail, it doesn’t mean my life is over, it means that I have to pick a different path. Good for you for realizing your bad behavior and reaching out to try to change it. All you can do now is try, and remember that even if you do fail at something, you will succeed at something else so there is nothing to be afraid of!
Maggie: Okay, now I’m on the computer and I can see your post in its entirety without scrolling up and down over the course of several logins.
I stand by my perspective (which may or may not be valid for you), and I’d like to add: I suspect you are noncommittal and/or remain neutral simply because you are afraid to be someone other than the person you are expected to be. I think you are afraid to be yourself (with all of the shock and disapproval that might bring).
But I have definitely been known to be wrong, and I seem to be the only person who sees this … I just thought I’d throw this out there because this is what jumps out at me.
(Source: Ask E. Jean)