This Is Who I Am

This Is Who I Am

I am a much loved son. I am petrified of swimming in the ocean. I still get excited every time I land a plane. My biggest fear is not making a big enough impact on the world. I am a loving and caring brother. I am very nasty to people that hurt me. I love to make people laugh. The thought of somebody not liking me makes me feel sick. I have been in love exactly once in my lifetime. I have hurt many people because of my inability to communicate my true feelings. I love to spend time alone just pondering life. I exaggerate parts of my life to make myself look more interesting. I am equal parts ambitious and arrogant. My soul is happiest when i’m listening to and supporting people in need. My soul is saddest when I feel lonely and like I don’t belong. I value my closest friends as much as my family. I hate looking at my body in the mirror. Yesterday I loved being gay. Tomorrow i’ll probably hate it. I am a perfect, flawed human being.

One thing that really gets to me is when people call me arrogant. I fully accept that criticism and admit that there are times when I have that feeling of superiority but I genuinely just love life, mean well by people and want to do good so why would I get called arrogant? I wanted to explore this feeling and this criticism further to see what was behind it and what I could learn from it. Arrogance is defined as: The act or habit of making undue claims in an overbearing manner; that species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; proud contempt of others. Damn girl, that’s nasty! So, where does it come from? It stems from negative experiences as a child in which the child decides that their well being is dependent on the perception of others. They then become gripped with a fear of their vulnerability to negative perceptions and the strategy becomes to manipulate others’ perceptions to ensure that there is never anything for them to disapprove of or criticise.

When I was growing up, I led a strange kind of double life. On one hand, my older brothers and sisters were struggling to find their place in the world. I witnessed marriage and then divorce. New kid arriving and then spilt families. Financial wins and then heartache and near ruin. It was hard to watch. On the other hand, I spent a lot of time with my uncle in Canada. He was a self made man with all the trimmings of a successful life. I was inspired and motivated by his attitude and seeing these two worlds in action, I decided that I wanted the latter. I wanted to win life at all costs. I would be the successful one; the one that made it. I wanted to prove to everybody that you can be anything you want. So that’s what I set out to do.

Around the same time a fresh faced Nathan was beginning high school. I was one of the only ones from my primary school to go to this particular high school. It was hard at first but I quickly made friends and found myself among a close knit group of guys. I was in the library one afternoon when I spotted one of my friends through the window. I grabbed a book on sex and threw it out of the window to him as a joke. A teacher walked passed and caught us. I insisted that he made me do it and that I was the innocent party. He got in trouble. I laughed and thought nothing more of it. The next day I came to school and something was different. My friends had taken sides or more accurately, had taken his side and that was the end of those friendships as I knew them. It was a traumatising time. I decided that because of one mean act, I had lost all of my friends. I decided that I must be nice to people, never let the mean me come out and only show the good parts of me so they never had an excuse to not be my friend. So that’s what I did.

I now had the perfect ingredients to create the “arrogant” Nathan Seaward that stands before you. A drive to win life at all costs and show that I was a success coupled with a burning fear of exposing my true self and having no friends. Isn’t life magical? It meant that I would always boastfully show the best parts of myself. I try to look overly happy and content so that people won’t see that I too have lots of “down days”, get angry and frustrated and have large doses of insecurity. It’s not hard to see how this presents as arrogance. So, what’s the solution?

This realisation coupled with my work on vulnerability leads me to seek a new way of being. I no longer only want to show people just the good parts of me. I am a perfect creation of the universe, after all so who am I to say what parts of me are good and bad? Hence I want to be completely comfortable with everyone knowing exactly who I am. The good, the bad and the ugly as they say. If you don’t like me, that will be your decision and I fully respect it. My new commitment to myself is not to have your friendship at all costs but to live a life filled with authenticity, honesty and vulnerability. This is who I am.

Action steps

1. Arrogance is just one of seven chief features of ego. The others include self-deprecation, self destruction, martyrdom, stubbornness, greed and impatience. Explore which one you identify with at Personality & Spirituality.