I Don’t Think I’m Better Than You… I Know It

Face criticism and be yourself.

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Source: Unsplash via Jeremy Bishop

This past week, I had some heavy criticism thrown my way. The two most important women in my life (Mom and girlfriend, of course) said this to me:

“I get the impression you think you’re better than everyone else.”

Holy shit, ouch.

It hurts to hear that from them; it’s especially embarrassing to write it out here. But writing openly and honestly is what makes this art so powerful — let’s keep it real.

No, I don’t think I’m better than everyone else.

I really don’t. To be honest, I avoid comparing my life to other people because I know it only leads to poor self-esteem and second guesses. I prefer to keep my head down and focus on what’s ahead of me.

However, even though I know I don’t think I’m better than everyone else, that’s not to say other people don’t get this impression. And if you do, fine, I respect that. See, “opinions” are funny. Ultimately, opinions add to our respective reality—and reality makes up our personal truth.

So, regardless of what’s true, we create our own beliefs and stand with them. As undeniably flawed individuals, a big thing to understand is this:

How we see ourselves in the world does not always align with how others see us. In fact, our perceptions are often complete opposites.

This seems overly obvious when I type it out, but damn it’s true. I mean regardless of what I think, if you negatively feel a way about me, who cares what I know? My actions and decisions inadvertently lead to a bad rep, so it doesn’t matter.

I’m doing the damage.

But I’m a man… and I wholeheartedly accept my imperfections. I’m not greater. My shit does stank! (LOL) And I’m not better than you, or him, or her, or anyone else for that matter.

I’m just me.

Communication

A lot of times when we don’t see eye-to-eye and our notions conflict with one another, it’s due to a lack of information and communication.

People ask me all the time “Alec, why do you write?” I write for a lot of reasons, but it’s mainly this right here: I get to express myself and tell you exactly how I think and feel. I get to shatter false judgments. I can pull back the shroud and straight up tell you like it is…

Lemme demonstrate.

Here’s why you might think I’m selfish, superior, and/or slightly narcissistic:

I’m competitive as fuck, I’ll lead with that. The twist? I’m like, kind of shy too.

No, I’m not “mentally competing” all the time, but I’m always in my head. Without a doubt, I live with a lot of reservation and some people take that as stiff or meticulous.

Outside of my close friends, my girl, and our families, I don’t really associate too much with other people. It’s not out of spite either!

In college, I didn’t care much about partying or being socially accepted. I wasn’t concerned with “being on the inside.” I definitely didn’t force friendships that weren’t there. Shit, I’ll admit I barely made new friends.

And honestly, it was by choice. I guarantee I would have made a totally radical frat-star. I could have been the head of some exclusive club or organization. Despite how awesome and rewarding that sounds, I didn’t want it.

It’s just not who I am.

I chose to focus on my personal well-being, my mental mindset, and my part of the world I could actually touch and impact.

And I’m happy I did.

Not Better, But I’m Great

Do not take my withdrawn personality as a sign of poor self-respect or confidence. Truthfully, I’m extremely satisfied with who I am. I’m optimistic about the future.

Weird, it’s almost like you aren’t supposed to say that out loud; that I’m “super happy with who I am.” I’m just very self-sufficient… that’s an easy way to put it. At times, I compare my lifestyle to that of a lone-wolf.

In other words, I don’t need others to feel good about myself.

And I completely understand how the word “arrogant” could be used to describe me. But I just believe in myself, man. I feel like I can do anything and because of this, I’m firm in my ways (stubborn).

Simply put, I try to minimize anything that brings self-doubt or negativity into my life. You bet, I’ll go out of my way to do so.

Awareness

Okay, okay. What would all this high-and-mighty talk mean without a little self-deprecation? I know I ain’t all that. I’m fully aware of my limitations as one person. I’m not superior and I don’t want to be.

I hold compassion and understanding close to me as I do respect and confidence.

Talk to me and I’ll listen. Show me your problems and I’ll show you mine. If we have a conversation, it’s likely I’ll ask you questions just to keep ya going—I enjoy reading people and I’m interested in how you think.

Better said, I’m cognizant of the way I interact with others.

‘Arrogance’ is not a caption I’m looking to place under my name.

Shortcomings… We all got ‘em

The lesson here? It’s amazingly simple: Recognize, appreciate, and own every part of who you are, even if it’s not all that!

Love all your good parts, but love your bad parts even more… they make you who you are.

We are flawed; no one has it all figured out. It’s dangerous to let shortcomings drive our image of the world around us. Let people be people and trust there’s an equally positive side you just can’t fully see, yet.

The only way to grow? Accept yourself… the rest takes care of itself.

- AZ

Bored, uneducated, homeless — em dashes are my specialty. I write what I see, think, and feel. That’s it.

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