Green Branch: strengths and weaknesses

10/26/20

In 66 days, it will be another new year, hard to believe considering all that has happened

As I continue to work on recovering my arm through physical therapy, I have also been doing a lot of self-reflection about who I am as a person and what I want in life.

Recently, the online person that I talked to on and off made a comment that not only irritated me but made think more about what I want going forward.  He said “Just a reminder, your pursuit for love will bring disappointment as usual. Calm down, get better, and love will come”.  I thought it was ironic considering he was one of the people that hurt me emotionally. I took his words with a grain of salt.

The one thing is, he does not really know me as a person only what I let him see. I always had this thought in the back of my mind to not let him into my life fully.  It is self-preservation.  I never let anyone truly know who I am. I feel like I still cannot fully trust anyone.

The only part he ever saw was this person struggling to stay positive and motivated.  He never saw the harsh person that I know I can be.  That side of my personality does not benefit anyone to include me, so I keep it hidden.

That side is angry, has a temper, and could physically hurt someone.  It is what protected me from those that tried to physically hurt me from a young age well into early adulthood. It also caused problems when I was drinking heavily in my 20’s. I got into physical and verbal altercations with others.

That personality flaw went through lots of counseling and anger management to learn how to calm down. It is always there simmering just beneath the surface.  I keep in check by stepping back, deep breaths in and out, then refocusing on what the real issue is.  I voice my opinion strongly and sometimes aggressively, because it is better to not let those things compound.  Yet, knowing how to control it does not mean it went away. Most think that I am irrational when I lose my temper but they have never nor will they ever see that true anger side, they’ve only see my irritation with others.

Some would view these things as weaknesses but in my opinion knowing who you are and what you are capable of is a sign of strength. A person must have a weakness to become stronger. You must know what the bottom looks like to keep rising back up after each fall until you get to the point where you no longer fall.

A good example would be a recent talk with the person I met on the dating apps a few months ago.  I got an unexpected text from him around 2 in the morning resulting in me driving to his house an hour away at 4 in the morning. I told him when things changed between us that I would always be there as a friend if he needed.

His life has thrown him so many different things at once it was the first time in my life that I saw what I viewed as a strong man, break down.  I went to provide him some sort of comfort by just being there to listen. It was a promise I had made to him and I never break my promises.

After we talked, he finally slept. I sat there and listened to him sleeping and taking in deep breaths for a while then dozed off myself.  In that moment it helped me as well. Having that face to face interaction with another human being is comforting to your soul.

I texted him again yesterday and he is doing better, still hurting by his circumstances but becoming more focused on what he needs to do. That gruffness was back and his word choices to describe his circumstance were once again rather colorful. He will be okay. He is a fighter and that is his strength.

The ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes and see it from their perspective is something not everyone has.  Empathy, sympathy, compassion, and benevolence is something that a person must work on being good at. I do not believe these are inherent traits and must be learned or taught.  These are a part of my strengths. It is what has made me a good customer service person in all the jobs I have ever had.

Despite, knowing that is my strength, I also know that is can be my downfall.  I want to believe that everyone is good at heart but know that is not true.  We are products of our environments and just because we live in the same place does not mean we grew up the same.

The inability to detach my emotional feeling from a situation and having that sense of wanting justice to prevail is a weakness and it affects my ability to be an effective supervisor or manager.  I am good at maintaining, building, or managing processes and procedures but when it comes to people that is where I struggle.

In my thoughts, I believe everyone has some sort of purpose and should follow through but in real life, people carry their issues with them everywhere they go. They do not compartmentalize things and stay focused on their job requirements, duties, or tasks.  That is where I would always bump heads with others. I expected them to perform in their job instead there was always excuses and no sense of remorse.

As a supervisor I was always assigned the personnel that had issues because I could “straighten” them out much like being everyone’s mother. I knew how to be patient with them and talk them through things. It was exhausting but rewarding if things turned around. I was just a small part of their growth and was so proud of them when they excelled even when they surpassed me. 

The last 5 months have shown me that I have a long way to go at learning to be patient for my own sake.  It is my biggest flaw and weakness.  The way I think and work on things is never simple or quick.  I must be able to plan things out and go step by step but recovering from an injury does not follow or fit into that plan.  Every person’s body reacts and heals differently also at different recovery times.  It has been the most frustrating experience coupled with the depression, anxiety, unemployment, and pandemic woes making every day a struggle just to get out of bed.

That is when I rely on my strength of resiliency.  I have been put into much worse and devastating situations but came out of them with a renewed sense of who I was a person. The only difference is now, I am physically alone in all of this.  I have support from my kids and family but facing things daily with no one there hits your sense of well-being differently.

The ability to motivate myself to accomplish things is hard whereas before I had different roles to fill so it could break it down into parts of the whole and focus on the individual parts.  Now, I am the sole focus.  I am no longer a wife, daughter, mother, manager, worker, student, or military airman.  I am just me.

I do not even know what to call myself, except a retiree, yet that does not fully define how I feel. I still have this sense of purpose to fill but do not know what it is, so I struggle with defining the next chapter in my life.  The blank pages are waiting to be filled but with what?

The words spoken to me about finding love were irritating because they are true.  I have spent so much time focused on finding someone to fill that empty part of my life that I am now being forced to step back and think about whether that is really what I want? 

I faced all the years of unhappiness that I felt by living with another person because that is what I believed was my duty as a woman.  I grew up seeing all these women in my life being wives and mothers thinking that is who I was supposed to be. Yet, it took me a while to realize that most were not happy and felt they had walked away from who they were as individuals before they got married.  I chose to become a stronger a version of myself when I walked away 6 years ago from that marriage. 

Then something clicked in my thoughts a few years ago after my ex-husband passed.  I realized that still believed that I must find someone that understands me and my values but have not found anyone that fit that description. I was and have been attracting people that saw only my weaknesses that they could try to exploit. They thought I was this desperately lonely individual, but I am not. Sometimes I begin wallowing in self-pity but that does not last long. I seem to bounce back from “heartache” rather quickly to some but in truth, it was not heartache but a bruised ego and hurt pride.

There is this saying, “Give him enough rope to hang himself” and that is what I have been doing. I will go along for so long letting the other person believe that I agree with them until their flaws or true intentions begin to show then I call them on it or shut it down. Then one of two things will happen, they will get mad and walk away or they will stay whether as an acquaintance or friend but no longer as a romantic interest. I can not and will not be with someone who is not honest from the beginning and have been very up front about that, but they just did not listen.

That self-reflection I spoke of earlier is what fills my thoughts. The physical isolation from others takes its toll on some days but there are still people to talk to or see if needed so that helps.  Yet, I am finding that there are more and more days where I do not want to be around others, so I stay home, watch movies, eat whatever I want, and sleep whenever I want. 

I will spend my time sitting on my balcony, drinking coffee, watching my cats, and listen to the sounds of the environment around me.  Other days I will spend my time writing, working on crafty things, or playing games on my phone while listening to music to fill in the silence.

These are things I always daydreamed about when I was working a regular 9 to 5 job. I thought about these things because I was unhappy where I was at and in the job that I had.  It was not fulfilling that need in my life to find my sense of purpose.  I wanted to escape the monotony of everyday life but realized that I am the one in control of how I fill my day.  No one dictates your life for you, only you can do that.

Now, at this point in my life, I am trying to find that sense of purpose. I have time on my hands to fill. There is no longer a work schedule to fill or mom duties to perform.

It is a daunting task to find your purpose and most spend their lives continually searching that out while others seem to already know. 

Then the last 5 months I began to realize that I already accomplished most of what I set out to do but did not have a plan for afterwards.  The vision of myself only went to a certain point of accomplishment.

Retiring from the military, being married for a long time, raising kids until they went off to college then on their own, and finishing my own educational pursuits.  I completed 3 of the 4 items that were predominantly figured on my list of things to do. I never thought about what I would do once that was done so I am struggling and feel lost at this moment in my life.

I knew that I wanted to pursue having my own business but nowadays that seems pointless because our economy and future is so uncertain.  I put those thoughts on the back burner because the business I want to develop is a specific niche market that is struggling, and I have not even worked on it for over a year. It seems frivolous now but friends in that same business seem to be doing okay but I am uncertain it will last.

Right now, all I can do is keep myself busy, continue with physical therapy and try to maintain my household which is also dependent on a source of income that I do not have.  The process of obtaining a source of funds is still ongoing and uncertain.  I must plan what to do next if that fails. I have a backup but that cannot start until January at the beginning of another new year.

It is just a waiting game now. 

The self-reflection has shown me that patience is truly a virtue and a strength that I must continually develop to become successful at anything that I want to do or become.

Like the green branch, I must learn how to bend when the winds change otherwise, I will be broken.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a great week ahead!

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you, always!

Suzanne

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