I’m OK, you’re OK

As a Highly Sensitive Person, so I’ve been told, my personality type dictates that I am very intuitive and am prone to considering all the possible outcomes of a  situation. I’ve always known this as “wishy-washiness.” This means that whenever I am trying to make a choice—whether it’s something trivial or not—I think (a lot) about what may happen. If I’m selecting a flavor of ice cream and leaning toward, say, strawberry, I worry that I will start eating it and wish that I’d gotten chocolate instead. Because I always want chocolate. It’s not easy to stop this behavior that comes so naturally to me. When I start wanting to bang my head against a wall, that’s when I’ll force myself to give it a rest.

There are many examples on which I might base decisions about how to live my life. A lot of people that I meet, and friends that I’ve made, provide inspiration. I look at some people and think, I want to be like that. These are people who live with passion and strive for adventure and have interesting stories to tell even though they are still young. The example they set is mixed up with other considerations, like the fact that I’ve gotten fed up with myself being too afraid to try new things, and my fear that life is too short and maybe I’ll never get my act together enough to live up to my potential. I’m interested in so many different things but have barely explored any of them.

Sometimes I strive for superficial things. Coming to Portland from a small town, I am struck by how stylish people are here! Just riding the bus to work in the morning, I notice the hats and scarves and coordinated outfits and wish I could look that put-together. It’s not that I want to be a trend follower, but next to some people I feel frumpy. I also wish that my home could look as well put-together as many of the apartments I’ve been inside. Since I’m starting with a blank slate there are infinite directions in which I could take it (with colors, styles, etc.).

Too many choices and I become paralyzed. Without taking action I get stuck in one place, concentrating a lot of energy toward envy and longing. I want to be young and have fun and go out with friends to explore the city that is my new home. I also want to be okay spending time alone and returning to activities that I know would make me feel good, like drawing and writing and learning to play music. I want to do things that will make interesting stories, or anecdotes at least.

I think about all these things I want, and then I take a breath and feel like crying out from under the expections I put on myself. I can’t be everyone and do everything. I know, I know, I know that I’m doing just fine and things happen in their own time. My new goal is to relax and stop trying to force life into some mold when I’m not even sure what shape I want it to take.

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