Last week I had a tough conversation.
Whatever I’m thinking, I say it. And I don’t hold back, I don’t have any secrets, and my life is an open book. If you ask about it, I tell you. And if I’m feeling a certain way, I tell you.
The problem with this is when I’m texting. Because I type as I’m thinking and as soon as I click send there’s no going back.
So last week in the middle of a conversation with my friend, I mentioned that I was feeling anxious about something.
Of course he proceeded to ask me ten follow-up questions about that.
The conversation then transpired in a unique and difficult direction.
He proceeded to dig deep into what really bothered me, and didn’t stand for the surface-level answers.
He confronted me about ways I act and things I say that aren’t okay, with zero sugarcoating (Probably because he’s from the North, just saying ;)).
And I panicked.
My flaws are that obvious?! He can tell that I’m insecure about ____?! He can tell that I care too much about ____?! He can tell that sometimes I just say things but don’t do them?! He can tell that I’m a total hypocrite?!?!?
Throughout the conversation, my hypocrisy became even more obvious as he would highlight one of my flaws and then later I would do exactly what he said I shouldn’t do:
“You care too much what people think,” he said. Then later I asked him if he was disappointed in me.
“You get flustered when people don’t see things the way you do,” he said. Then later I gave up trying to explain something and said, “I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.”
“You’re trying to fix everyone else before fixing yourself,” he said. Then later I just stared at all the people on my Prayer List.
But he still listened, he still helped, he still cared about me, even through my flaws, hypocrisy and obvious shortcomings.
I even told him my biggest fear and he didn’t laugh.
So here’s what I realized from this conversation:
I don’t take criticism well. (Example: a few weeks ago I received a pretty aggressive, anonymous hate email about the blog. And even though just a few days later my blog hit 7,000 unique visitors, having one person not like it hurt my feelings sooooo much.)
I’m too sensitive. I’ve got to get some thicker skin. Do they sell products for that? (My lame attempt at being funny; please laugh.)
I spend all this time trying to give advice to other people but I don’t have consistent people giving me advice. (Hey everyone!!! Pass along your greatest advice!)
My flaws are a lot more obvious than I thought. And that’s embarrassing. I thought I was doing such a good job of covering them up! But, hey world, I’m super messed up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have the greatest friends in the world.
The hardest thing about coming to terms with all of your issues is then figuring out how to fix them. So I guess I’ll keep texting my best friend every night right before he goes to bed, and this time it’ll be more like, “so…. How do I change? And how can you help me?”
Because the last thing I learned about my conversation last night is that we’re all in this together. (Cue High School Musical song)
So what’s the takeaway?
It’s plain and simple: If you don’t have someone with whom you can have a conversation like I just explained, reach out to someone and ask her/him to be that person. Allow someone to tell you all the ways you’re messed up. Embrace those flaws, and then let that person help you to change for the better.
And if you already have someone with whom you can have such a conversation, tell her/him thank you.
So, Luke, thank you. Thank you so much.