I was having such an amazing day until I got on Facebook. I was enjoying a peaceful Friday morning working in my yard. I did a heart check and realized that for the first time in a long time that my heart was healed, whole, and happy. It felt great! I had come through a tough week but I had pushed through and prevailed.
Earlier that morning I had posted on Facebook a 250 word “description” of myself that I had written for an upcoming conference. And evidently someone took exception to how I had described myself. There on Facebook, ready to burst my happy balloon, was an extensive comment about how I should not label myself and I should not this and I should not that and blah blah blah.
Really? There went that peaceful easy feeling.
In my written introduction, I had described myself as “An introverted overachiever with a touch of OCD.” This well-meaning friend wrote “Stop labeling yourself. Introverted? Overachiever? OCD?”
First of all, let me explain that I am quite happy being an introverted overachiever with a touch of OCD. I did not describe myself in that way to denigrate myself or put myself down, but to express who I am. Simply put, I know my strengths and weaknesses and therefore I am perfectly comfortable using them to describe who I am.
I AM an introvert. It is how God made me. I can be social, but I need a lot of time alone after being social. Being alone is how I recharge and recover from being social, because being social can exhaust me. I have such an extensive garden because I am an introvert – I need a lot of time outside, alone, to recover from my week. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. It is a label that helps me to understand who I am and how I tick. I like it actually. My jammy pants, electric blanket, and stuffed bunny rabbit agree.
I AM an overachiever. When I do personality tests, this is how I am defined. And looking back over my life, it describes me to a T. If I do something, I want to do it well. Very well, in fact. I aim for excellent. And so I tackle areas of my life with abandon. I have overachieved in my garden. I have overachieved in my education. I have overachieved in my handmade note card business. It is a label that describes how I am motivated. I like it, actually. There is nothing wrong with being an overachiever.
And I DO have a touch of OCD. I have never been formally diagnosed with OCD, but ask any of my friends (especially those who have lived with me) and they will agree that I am OCD in some areas of my life. I have to have things a certain way. If you look at my cabinets or my earrings, you will see them organized in ROYGBIV (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet). I can’t think if there is a crooked picture on the wall or if papers are not stacked perfectly with all four edges lining up. And don’t hand me a wrinkled receipt. It messes up my world. And while I have learned to let go of some of my OCD ways, I don’t mind who I am. I love my orderly, organized world. There is nothing wrong with being a little OCD.
I like being an introverted overachiever with a touch of OCD. How was I supposed to describe myself – that I am an extroverted underachiever who thrives on things being messy? Is that somehow better? That would be a lie.
CAN’T WE JUST LET EACH OTHER BE WHO WE ARE?
I know that we want to encourage each other to speak positive things about ourselves so as to not put ourselves down, but come on, girls, if we’re honest, we’ve all got messy parts of our personalities. If we try to say everything perfectly so that the “speech police” doesn’t correct us, we end up being mute about our rough edges and our struggles and imperfections.
It is exhausting trying to keep up the the facade of being perfect. I’m tired of perfect. I want real. I want to know those parts of your personalities that other people want you to be quiet about.
I want to know if you are depressed.
I want to know if you are struggle with being critical.
I want to know if you are insecure.
I want to know if you feel like a failure.
I want to know if you are scared.
I want to know if you think people don’t like you.
I want to know if you feel inadequate.
I want to know your imperfections, flaws, and failures. And I want you to know mine. That is the only way we can get past being fake about our lives. Let’s be real.
And please be careful about correcting someone for being honest about their true selves. Embrace them and love them right where they are.
Even if they are an introverted overachiever with a touch of OCD.