Note to Myself 2018: No. 11

Let's face it:
nobody's perfect.

Each of us is a hot mess of contradictions.
Sometimes patient and kind,
sometimes snappish and irritable.

Shadow and light.

Light and shadow.

Even our most cherished qualities
have a negative side.
For example, being loving and forgiving
is generally seen as a positive thing.
But, if inappropriately overdone,
it can lead to enabling,
becoming a doormat,
turning the other cheek 
when the offending party 
has no interest in curbing
his or her egregious behavior.

And those negative parts of ourselves
that we're critical of?
Those bouts of aggravation 
tell us our boundaries are being violated
and we need to act. . .
to confront someone's behavior 
that violates our standards
or threatens our self-esteem.
Or to examine what is putting us on red alert
in order to see 
whether we're reacting appropriately
to a here-and-now violation 
or whether something has triggered well-wired reactions
and we've been transported to the past.

One of my earlier "Notes to Myself 2018"
proclaimed too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Well, sometimes.
Sometimes not.

It's good to balance light and shadow.
To not let either side get out of control.
To dig into the things we prefer to keep hidden
and figure out how we can benefit from illuminating them
and use them to our benefit.
To stop being blinded to the downsides
of the upsides we think of as our good points.


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