Here's what some people don't understand -- flaws, like beauty, are largely in the eye of the beholder.
I've been thinking about this for quite a while, the introspection spurred by several events. Some of them are my own experiences and some of them are others' that I have observed. So many times, people are so hurt that you either think or operate differently than they do, they will think of you as flawed. Even worse than that, they'll try to convince you of it, too.
I'm here to tell you that it isn't true.
I'm here to tell you that sometimes it's okay to be selfish. There's a difference between being selfish and being self-centered in that selfish can be temporary, whereas self-centered rarely is. Sometimes you're worn down by constant demands that are made by loved ones and/or coworkers. Hell, sometimes you demand too much of yourself. It's okay to take a step back and breathe, because here's something that took me too damn long to learn -- it's okay to say "no" to people. You can say no to hanging out if you want to stay in. You can say no to a phone conversation if you know that you'll just be dead air to the other end of the line. You can say no to favors. If your friends know you well enough, they'll back off. They know as well as you do that if they had a crisis in the middle of the night, you'd still show up with no hesitation. Needing time to yourself is not synonymous with being a jerk.
It's okay to re-prioritize your life even though some people may not make the cut... and it's okay not to miss those people, too. Usually it means you've made the right decision. You'll get nostalgic occasionally, but it's mostly nostalgia for the fun or the happiness you had with the people in question. In our everlasting instinct to want to think the best of people, our memories turn to the happy times when we reminisce. If you've ever been upset over the end of a crappy relationship, you know how this goes. People change. You change. As the age-old proverb goes, change is the only constant.
Speaking of which, it's okay to change. You are not betraying anyone by growing as a person (and if they act like it is a betrayal, seriously, it's time to re-evaluate your social circle). Life is too short to pretend to be something or someone you're not just to appease other people or keep from hurting their feelings. Some people want to travel, others are homebodies. Some people want to get married, some will never get out of their party animal stage. Some people want kids, some people don't. Some people need friends outside of their marriage, others are perfectly content with their spouse and their family. It's okay to be any of these things, as long as you don't lie to others -- or yourself -- about who you really are and where your heart truly is.
Last, but certainly not least, it is okay to be blissfully happy -- and SHOW it. This should be a "duh" but I find so many people being Debbie Downers in response to other people's happiness lately. As a sweet friend of mine said recently, you may as well be waving an enormous flag that says, "I'm miserable!" when you put down someone else simply for being happy. If someone is incandescently happy, don't you think you should be happy for them too? Don't you think that they might have walked through the fires of hell to get to their happiness? Don't you think that if you focused a little bit more on yourself and how to escape your struggles that you'd eventually find your own happiness (and want to shout about it from the rooftops)? I mean, I know it takes less effort to sit, sulk, and snark (and if that's what you choose to do, then I sincerely pity you) ... but what will you ever truly accomplish with your life if that's your attitude toward someone you claim to love who is happy?
So, that little tangent over with, here are my faults.
- I prefer the company of my husband over anyone else in the world. That's part of the reason I married him. I'm not sorry that I love him with my whole being.
- I prefer not to die within ten miles of my birthplace. I want to experience somewhere new and meet other people. I don't want to commit to one place unless I have to. I'm not sorry that I want to experience other places instead of living on the same street as my entire extended family.
- I happen to think that there are a few core rules of friendship you simply don't break, and if you do break them, you need to have the balls to own up to your shitty behavior and apologize before you're forgiven. I'm not sorry that I have a backbone.
- I'm a radically different woman now than I was a year and a half ago. I'm an entirely different creature now than I was several years ago. This has cost me several friendships that were flaky from the beginning and a couple of family ties that made me ashamed of my own blood. I'm not sorry that I'm strong enough to cut toxic people out of my life.
- I'm posting this so that other people might read it and empathize with my point, having been there themselves. I'm not going back to edit it, tweak it, or take it down because I second-guess myself. I'm not sorry for having an opinion.
- ....and you shouldn't be, either.