It all depends.

“I can be happy, I can be sad.  I can be good or I can be bad.  It all…. Depends… On you!
(Written in by Ray Henderson, Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown)

I think that this song is accurate for a lot of people.  How many do you know that are dependent on others to try to make themselves happy.  Be honest with yourself; how much do you depend on it?

I’ve always had a tendency to fall into this category.  I’ve never really been happy with myself, and have spent a lot of effort trying to make others happy.  I’ve felt happiest when I know I’m pleasing someone, and often take on their likes and dislikes, interests and activities as my own.  Over the years I’ve ‘gotten into’ country, hip hop, pop, and folk music depending on the preferences of people I’ve been involved in.  My political views have varied (to some point anyway) to agree with someone.  My background and persona have adapted from the simple country boy to the sophisticated, suave executive.   My own personality can be suppressed so that I’m interesting, attractive and desirable to whomever I’m with.  That’s because I’ve not been confident enough or happy enough to stand on my own.  I’m just not worthy.

When it comes to women, I consider myself to be a true gentleman.  I was raised in the southern United States, and being a Southern Gentleman is a tradition; it was how I was raised.  And I get a lot of enjoyment in treating a lady like a princess.  Doors are to be held, packages are to be carried, opinions are accepted, consideration is given, and I always – always – put the toilet seat down.  There are valid reasons for being like this.  Like I said, it was how I was raised and I truly believe that women should be respected and treated well.  But there’s another side to this too.  If I make someone a princess, that makes me a prince.  Others notice when I open a car door for a lady and I revel in their reaction.  People think I’m sweet and caring.  And I am.  But I also know that perception helps define my appearance.  I’ve actually had women who take offense at this though.  They’ve picked up on my enjoyment of being recognized as a gentleman and felt that it was my only motivation for such behavior.  That’s simply not true, but it is a byproduct.  I can be good, but it all depends on you.

I think this comes from the fact that I really haven’t liked myself my whole life.  I’ve felt like my own opinions are stupid and uninformed, and really aren’t worth sharing.  I don’t think I’m very likable as a person, and if I show anyone what I’m really like that won’t want to have anything to do with me.  I see myself as unattractive and am very self conscious of my physical flaws and appearance.

I feel like damaged goods.

Of course a big part of this comes from being bipolar.  I have very outrageous behaviors that most people don’t understand.  My depressions reinforce my view I have of myself as a loser and failure.  Being manic scares the hell out of people.

I’m crazy;  who could like that?

But that’s not the only reason.  In general I’ve been ‘different’ from others.  I’m definitely not mainstream in any way.  I’m quirky, have a warped sense of humor, and just see the world differently.    My quick wit and intelligence tend to put people off.  I’m laden with insecurities and have alienated myself as a way of hiding them.  Being OCD, I get negative thoughts that repeat over and over.  From a very early age I’ve felt inferior which only feeds into my perception of myself and compounded over the years.

So I depend on others to make myself happy.

But, that’s a reason I’m in therapy.  I’m recognizing that no one else can really make me happy.  There are a lot of reasons to like myself, and I have many strengths and attributes that I can embrace.  I’m learning that in many ways I’m no different from anyone else.  Most people have their own insecurities and self perception that are as poor as my own.  And in many ways, I find that I’m more secure than I think I am, and better equipped to deal with life.  Years ago I knew a guy that I really looked up to, and was very intimidated by.  He was well on his way to a successful career.  He was financially secure.  He had lots of friends and was well liked.  He was everything I wanted to be and what I felt that I could never attain.  One day, he comes to man and says “I want to be just like you”.  His perception of me was the same as mine of him.  At the time I just thought it was an aberration, and that he was just being nice to tell me that.  But I’m learning that others do see me a lot differently than I see myself.  I’m learning to like myself and accept my flaws for what they are.  I’m facing my illness and working hard to manage it and live a normal life.  I need to make myself happy, and I will.

It all depends on me.

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One Response to It all depends.

  1. Self-acceptance is one of the hardest things to come by. Society teaches us we should always want something better, something other than what we are. I’m still struggling with it and may always be. I’m glad you’ve made progress. I’m sure if we could see ourselves in other’s eyes, we would definitely have a different perception.


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