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Thread: Becoming a better person

  1. #1
    Member Cynid's Avatar
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    Becoming a better person

    Hello, all.

    I've been dealing with this issue for the past few days and it has hit me hard today. Enough that I thought I needed to ask for some help.
    I'm trying to become a better person. A better friend, and hopefully a good partner one day. For some time I thought I had moved on from my past and my actions. I am doing my best to be a better person, getting in touch with my values and building integrity. But I feel like there is so much broken with me, no matter how hard I try to improve, that just makes me unable to love and be loved and undeserving of love. Like karma is telling me that because of what I've done, i can't expect anything good to happen in any type of relationship.

    Three years ago, I met someone who subsequently changed my life. It all fell apart because I wasn't in the right place mentally and emotionally. I was a pathological liar. The whole thing with him was built on lies I told. I lied about many aspects of my life. I lied about my sex life, lied about small things I would tell him I was doing, etc. It took me a few months after he and I stopped talking to figure out that it was from lack of self-acceptance. I didn't like myself. I didn't like who I was, what my real life was and I didn't think I was worthy of anything real with someone. So I lied hoping to not only be more interesting in the eyes of others but particularly, his. It was a year later that I sent him a letter, coming clean and apologizing for my lying and betrayal. The guilt hasn't left me since.
    Since then I reached out to him twice more, months apart, to try to either rekindle something with a clean slate or start a friendship. But I learned the hard way that what I was doing was unhealthy, and I had to leave him alone.

    I have a bad history of ghosting people. People I care about and who care about me. Twice over the span of two/three years, I've apologized to a friend (one who has been nothing but accepting and patient with me) for ghosting her, having one excuse after the other. The third and last time (around may of this year) was the last straw for her, I think. I felt so ashamed of myself for doing it yet again, that I just deleted her number giving myself the excuse that if she hasn't gotten back to me since the last time we spoke, she doesn't want anything to do with me, so might as well, delete her number. However, much like what had happened with this man, I sent her email telling her how sorry I was and why i had ghosted her. Even why i had deleted her number. I didn't get a response. Which was something I was ready for.
    Another friend of mine and I had a falling out last year but after reaching out to her a few days ago, we were able to talk things through and renew our friendship.

    On top of those interpersonal issues, I also have a problem with sticking to a job. I jump from one to the other, never satisfied, always leaving when things get tough. It's a pattern I'm aware of and I am working on it. I've taken the time to find something I know I would love enough to be dedicated to and remain consistent. I think I did. Or at least I hope so.

    Because of all these things I did, the lies, the lack of loyalty to friends, the inconsistency and the ghosting, I honestly don't believe to be worthy of even trying to find love - whether platonic or romantic. I've kept myself pretty much insulated. I don't go out, only with family. I only interact with people online and then again, not deeply.
    As a result, I'm afraid of getting close to anyone. I'm afraid of being myself, afraid of anyone liking me, afraid of failing yet again and hurting someone else. Hell, I've even lost my sense of humor. I know that a coping mechanism I've developed is to be cold when interacting with people. Anything to avoid forming some kind of friendship with someone. The idea that I took advantage of their kindness and patience weighs heavily on my heart. I'm not a good person. I'm selfish and immature. But I'm trying to change that.

    To be honest, I don't know what I'm asking for. I'm just asking for some advice on how to be that better person. I'm 29 and I feel like the more years pass, the harder it will be to change.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Member simple cure's Avatar
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    I can really relate. I'm much older and what I have found is that these periods of metamorphosis come and go. And on the bright side, it takes a lot of willpower and depth to be able to confront these things and follow through, so good for you that you are looking at things straight on and not blaming others, or being a victim.
    You are on the right track, wanting to do better, and grow. Lucky for us, we have access to all sorts of tools to do that.
    I just learned about Attachment Styles, and some of your statements made me think you might benefit from learning about that too. It might help you to understand why you relate to people who are close to you the way you do.
    There are a lot of books that explain it. If you are interested, look into it.
    Self improvement can be a never-ending process, so, it might be good for you to write out what you want to learn and prioritize the issues. For one thing, romantic relationships should be the last, unless you are already in one, but, they can cause more problems than they solve
    Friends are something we all need, and help us in so many ways. If you can start by getting involved in a group activity that is along the lines of your interest, you might meet a friend that way.
    By the way, it's alright to withdraw for the time you need to get yourself sorted.
    It's better to do that than throw yourself at someone in desperation. In my experience.
    It's hard to do when you need to socialize, but it's doable.
    I hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Silver Member MirrorKnight's Avatar
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    Well the first step to solving any problem is recognizing that you have one. So, you are not beyond help.

    You need to figure out why you behave the way that you do, the underlying reasons for what you call your selfishness and immaturity.

    I also ghosted the vast majority of my friends when I went through depression in my 20s, to the extent that I ignored text messages checking up on how I was. Why? Because I had become so ashamed of myself, falling from grace, that I did not think I had anything in common to relate to my successful friends anymore. Their mere existence was a reminder of my failure. Obviously, I had lots of fair weather friends (frankly, the majority) who would have drifted away from my life regardless of how I retreated them, but it was my own behaviour that drove the rest away.

    Accept yourself, stop beating yourself up over the past, acknowledge your flaws, work on them. It is that simple, and yet so difficult. But welldone, you have taken the first step.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I commend you for wanting to become a better person. You don't know how many countless people who would never admit their awful flaws and defects in a million years nor would they know it, if you hit them on the head with it. Yes, it's that bad in my midst.

    Regarding lying, don't lie anymore. Don't be deceitful and tell the truth.

    Don't feel bad about ghosting. I've ghosted people, too; not necessarily out of meanness but lack of interest, not being able to relate anymore, nothing in common and many friendships simply had run its course and we drifted apart. I've since rekindled friendships by asking them back in my life. Sometimes they're receptive and sometimes there are repeats when two people change so much that it's difficult to relate unlike more innocent, carefree times in the past.

    If you wish to rekindle old, estranged friendships, all you can do is humbly ask to try to reestablish the friendship again. If they decline or ghost you, there is your answer and if they're willing to forgive you and try again, then obviously put forth the effort to cultivate, nurture and maintain the friendship before it grows stale again.

    Friendships require time and effort otherwise it will die just as all relationships will eventually.

    Regarding your job, it will not be exciting all the time. There will be days when you're exhausted and dread showing up for work. This is how life is. Many jobs get mundane in order to pay your bills. Force yourself to show up, make the best of it, work hard, get noticed and you will get promoted. You need to persevere. Successful people never quit.

    Since you have a conscience to improve yourself, give yourself a pat on your back.

    Remember 'The Golden Rule:' "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Treat people with respect and you will reap its rewards. Same thing with your job. Respect your job, keep your nose to the grindstone and someday you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    I'm somewhat like you. I fear rejection, too. However, remember EVERYONE is not accepted by EVERYONE. We pick and choose whom we wish to associate with and I lack interest in others as you do, too.

    My sister is very popular but the problem is she's popular but doesn't have any super close friends. The one close friend that she does have is not geographically close. I on the other hand do not have 1,000 FB friends yet I have a few close local friends. Who is the luckier lady now?

    Since you feel guilty for taking advantage of people's kindness and patience, you can start now by being nice to random people in your life whether it's new friends who will gradually reenter your life, new friends or even complete strangers in the grocery store during errands. You have to start somewhere. Take baby steps as Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Do not attempt to conquer the world and become a completely different person or the life of the party because it's unrealistic. Do little things everyday just as little acts of kindness, a kind word to anyone, don't ghost anymore, stop lying, don't be deceitful, become selfless and remember to treat everyone with respect. Then it will all come back to you and people will reciprocate by treating you well, too.

    It's not hard to change. Practice everyday until it becomes your new habit.

    I struck up a conversation with a 91 year old patient while at the doctor's office waiting room today. I'll never see this lady again. She told me stories about her childhood during the Great Depression. It was such a humble learning experience and an honor to have a conversation with a walking history book.

    Think small. Do small acts of kindness which leads to bigger and better things and more people someday if that's what you want. Think outside yourself and then it becomes easier to give your heart.

    You're a very honorable person to want to change. I wish there were more people like you especially in my midst. I know so many bad people who will never change in a million years because they think there's nothing wrong with them! Now, that's frustrating and infuriating!

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by Cynid
    Hello, all.

    I've been dealing with this issue for the past few days and it has hit me hard today. Enough that I thought I needed to ask for some help.
    I'm trying to become a better person. A better friend, and hopefully a good partner one day. For some time I thought I had moved on from my past and my actions. I am doing my best to be a better person, getting in touch with my values and building integrity. But I feel like there is so much broken with me, no matter how hard I try to improve, that just makes me unable to love and be loved and undeserving of love. Like karma is telling me that because of what I've done, i can't expect anything good to happen in any type of relationship.

    Three years ago, I met someone who subsequently changed my life. It all fell apart because I wasn't in the right place mentally and emotionally. I was a pathological liar. The whole thing with him was built on lies I told. I lied about many aspects of my life. I lied about my sex life, lied about small things I would tell him I was doing, etc. It took me a few months after he and I stopped talking to figure out that it was from lack of self-acceptance. I didn't like myself. I didn't like who I was, what my real life was and I didn't think I was worthy of anything real with someone. So I lied hoping to not only be more interesting in the eyes of others but particularly, his. It was a year later that I sent him a letter, coming clean and apologizing for my lying and betrayal. The guilt hasn't left me since.
    Since then I reached out to him twice more, months apart, to try to either rekindle something with a clean slate or start a friendship. But I learned the hard way that what I was doing was unhealthy, and I had to leave him alone.

    I have a bad history of ghosting people. People I care about and who care about me. Twice over the span of two/three years, I've apologized to a friend (one who has been nothing but accepting and patient with me) for ghosting her, having one excuse after the other. The third and last time (around may of this year) was the last straw for her, I think. I felt so ashamed of myself for doing it yet again, that I just deleted her number giving myself the excuse that if she hasn't gotten back to me since the last time we spoke, she doesn't want anything to do with me, so might as well, delete her number. However, much like what had happened with this man, I sent her email telling her how sorry I was and why i had ghosted her. Even why i had deleted her number. I didn't get a response. Which was something I was ready for.
    Another friend of mine and I had a falling out last year but after reaching out to her a few days ago, we were able to talk things through and renew our friendship.

    On top of those interpersonal issues, I also have a problem with sticking to a job. I jump from one to the other, never satisfied, always leaving when things get tough. It's a pattern I'm aware of and I am working on it. I've taken the time to find something I know I would love enough to be dedicated to and remain consistent. I think I did. Or at least I hope so.

    Because of all these things I did, the lies, the lack of loyalty to friends, the inconsistency and the ghosting, I honestly don't believe to be worthy of even trying to find love - whether platonic or romantic. I've kept myself pretty much insulated. I don't go out, only with family. I only interact with people online and then again, not deeply.
    As a result, I'm afraid of getting close to anyone. I'm afraid of being myself, afraid of anyone liking me, afraid of failing yet again and hurting someone else. Hell, I've even lost my sense of humor. I know that a coping mechanism I've developed is to be cold when interacting with people. Anything to avoid forming some kind of friendship with someone. The idea that I took advantage of their kindness and patience weighs heavily on my heart. I'm not a good person. I'm selfish and immature. But I'm trying to change that.

    To be honest, I don't know what I'm asking for. I'm just asking for some advice on how to be that better person. I'm 29 and I feel like the more years pass, the harder it will be to change.

    Thank you.
    I've had two compulsive liars in my life. Both of whom were amazing people. I knew they were lying to me, and both because they didn't feel "good enough". They were though, both amazing.

    You are worthy of love.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Have you been evaluated by a physician and therapist? You seem to have insight that something is amiss with a few destructive behaviors. Do mood disorders or substance abuse run in your family? Life is starting to implode because it's all catching up with you. Get some help. "Be a better person" is vague so define what behaviors are disrupting your life and find out what all the impulsive self-defeating actions are about.

  8. #7
    Member Cynid's Avatar
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    Thank you all for what you said and the advice. I've been working on myself for the past couple of years, with some ups and downs and the typical one step forward and two step back. I recognize that I'm also impatient with myself and that I want to see results almost instantly. Something else I have to work on.

    I do practice telling nothing but the truth now, even if it hurts me or someone else, even if it's difficult. There are times, however, when the feeling of inadequacy is so strong that I don't say anything at all when I know I should. Almost like because of what i did, i don't get to talk, I don't have a leg to stand on to even voice an opinion.

    I haven't been able to see a therapist. It is something I want to do but I've never been able to afford it. The insight I got was from my own research and my own interest in psychology. While I can't figure it all out, I tried to at least be honest with myself on a few things.

    I do think on some level we've all (my family and me) dealt with something that tore us down. One of my sisters had bulimia and the other anorexia, both my parents had a drinking problem. Nothing too major but it was noticeable. Another sibling had depressive moments.

    I relate a lot to what you said, MirrorKnight, about feeling inadequate and a failure in comparison to my friends. I do try to remind myself that we all have our issues to face, but it's still there

    Simple cure: I did look into attachment styles a while ago. What I remember from it is that I was that I felt I had a mix of avoidant-dismissive and anxious-preoccupied. It fluctuates from one to other depending on the situation or people.

    I will take your advice to heart, cherylyn, and do it all in small steps. Thank you :)

  9. #8
    Member Cynid's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Have you been evaluated by a physician and therapist? You seem to have insight that something is amiss with a few destructive behaviors. Do mood disorders or substance abuse run in your family? Life is starting to implode because it's all catching up with you. Get some help. "Be a better person" is vague so define what behaviors are disrupting your life and find out what all the impulsive self-defeating actions are about.
    I do have an idea of what I want to be. The biggest trait I want to fully embody is that of consistency.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    If you truly want to fix yourself, then get proper professional help today.

    Make appointments with a few good psychiatrists in the area and get a proper evaluation of what is going on with you and what is the path to recovery so to speak. You might be a good candidate for CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, so look for one who specializes in that. I say get a few evaluations because some psychiatrists are better than others and you need to find one you can work with effectively. As in their approach actually works for you and helps you.

    If you really focus and pursue that, you can completely turn yourself around in 1-2 years. Yes, it takes time and heavy duty work to rewire your brain, but it's completely possible to do if you really want to.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    My thought, in reading your initial post, is: how exciting!

    The challenge, for you, might be sharing that excitement, as it sounds like you're prone, at the moment, to find a kind of comfort in punishing yourself rather than celebrating yourself. That is really the most dangerous stuff—far more than lying and ghosting and job-hopping, which are just symptoms of knotty wiring—since we are hardwired, as animals, to seek comfort; so long as your comfort zone is something to the effect of "I suck" you will find ways to reinforce that, consciously and subconsciously.

    Zoom out just a bit—meaning taking a less self-centric and self-punishing view of all this, but instead viewing your "self" in a larger context as something forever in flux—and there's another story you can tell. Let's start with the guy. That story, in a sentence? You had a relationship that sadly didn't work because you ultimately weren't compatible. That story plays out a million times a day around the world—bad timing, more or less, with various variables of drama and hurt—particularly among people in their 20s. You were one of those people. The story with the friendships is similar: relationships that ran their course, with some jagged interludes. Another universal story. Ditto the job stuff: some wayward years in early adulthood.

    That's not giving you a hall pass for your lying, for your own role in the demise of these relationships, for your flightiness in the workplace, for the places where your own sharp edges hurt other people. Hardly. It's just about not making it all about you, and the damaged broken monster that is you in your mind, since that is, in a way, disrespecting the agency of other people—and giving yourself, and your "damage," far more power than it deserves. The more power you give it, the more it becomes you, becomes your agency, and the more you will act in ways to reinforce that identity.

    Leeching all that of power and mystery, on the other hand, is to shed it, the way snakes shed husks. This is where therapy can be a godsend. You get intimate with your demons so they stop getting intimate with you. They don't "vanish," but they lose their power, to the point where you can kind of go, "Hey, little part of me that hates myself—what up? I see you, but I've got other things to do." Commit to a year of it and, I suspect, you'll be astounded by what you see when you turn on the bathroom light and look in the mirror. Rather than being hungry to see a monster staring back you, you'll see what's always been there: a tender, complex woman with a heart that yearns to love and be loved, like all human hearts.

    I've got 11 years on you—and, believe me, I can relate to your story from some angles. Won't stir in the sob story or the checklist of unfortunate choices I've made, since it's all pretty generic and basic in the scheme of humanity. Just took me a good long time to come to terms with it in that context, so I could hold myself fully accountable, but with gentle hands rather than with a whip or a ruler to the knuckles. Time, therapy, and a genuine openness to be excited about self-growth, rather than to view self-growth as some kind of atonement for past sins. As long as you think of yourself a sinner, rather than a person—well, you will be a sinner. Nobody loves a sinner, including sinners. They love humans.

    Humans make mistakes, some graver than others. Mistakes can be forgiven. Mistakes are also, of course, choices. So, for instance, lying was both a mistake you made and a choice you made. Once you really understand the root of that choice, you'll be able to forgive the mistake, rather than being defined by it, since you will be defined by new choices. Those new choices carry you into 30, into 35, into 50, and in making them you shed this husk that's presently haunting you. In doing so, to twist a metaphor a touch to far, you will no longer feel like a snake but like the human you are.

    Not sure that makes sense. A lot of words to say: try to go easy on yourself, while being hard on yourself, if that makes sense. That's therapy, in a nutshell. That's evolving. The past is the past, and the only reason it can haunt you is if you let it, by repeating it in the present. Because the present is all there ever is, and our futures are determined by what we do in the present, not what we did in the past.

    A story of my oldest friend, to put it less abstractly. Great guy, known him since I was 4. He hit the skids a bit in his 20s. Got back together with a high school sweetheart, wasn't a great boyfriend. Relationship crumbled, some infidelity. Couldn't hold down jobs, earned money behind a bar, spent it on the other side. As 30 dawned he had a little self-reckoning of the sort you seem to be confronting. Got himself into therapy, started interning at an arts organization. Who is he today, at 40? He's the number 2 of that organization, an incredible man married to an incredible woman, with a child on the way. Best part of that story? He's still the same person, just evolved, and still evolving.

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