Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Good Guy Syndrome

There is no such thing as a good guy. For all of you economists out there, i'll shorten it to TINSTAAGG.

For my entire life, and especially my baseball career, I have been incorrectly labeled a good guy. I didn't drink until I was 21. I didn't smoke any sort of legal or illegal things until recently (still nothing illegal, just my tobacco pipe). I was not quick to start fights or arguments, raise my voice or throw a punch. In fact, I prided myself on the premise that I could be friends with just about anyone. I tried not to be intentionally hurtful to people and understand where they were coming from. A lot of this was from the way I was raised (Kudos to my parents for that), but still a lot of it came from a different place.

Somewhere inside of me was a need to be liked and accepted. This probably stems from being a middle child (yes, i'm aware of the stigmas associated). I was kind to people because of the prospect of them being kind back. I didn't drink, smoke, or fight because it wasn't legal for me at the time. It's almost as if not doing those things afforded me some sort of compensation to do other "less bad" things more often. In the end, it seemed like I was still on the good side of the spectrum. But i've realized as of late (and why I'm writing this) that there seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that goes along with this kind of mindset.

The truth about life is (Get ready for it!) bad things happen to people. Friends, family, spouses, neighbors, that guy on the bus; they all let you down at some point. No one, not even the best person, is perfect and incapable of falling short of expectations set on them. This was a problem for me. I spent so much of my time and effort being the "good" guy, that when things didn't go my way (and trust me, they didn't) I wash shocked and appalled. I kept telling myself over and over, "Why did this happen to ME. I'm trying so hard to do everything right and other people just keep screwing me over." Woe Is Me!!!!

I believe I would've been content to stay that way for a long time. But Alas, I could not.

In any and all situations Good Guy Syndrome forces the first thought you have to be about yourself. All other thoughts revolve around that one central thought. Because you spend so much time thinking about yourself (doing things right and making people happy), you lose the reality that the world doesn't revolve around you and your problems. For me, I had to see it in another person for me to realize this tough fact. I saw a person do bad things. I mean bad things that anyone would call bad. But for some reason, instead of calling it what it is and moving forward; they seemed to take 2 steps back and justify why the bad thing happened. As if justification in their wrongs would bring them back closer to "good" status. I saw that and finally realized what I had felt for so long. "I'm that guy!"

I had been trying so hard to do things right for so long. There was this persona...a "good guy"...that I had to live up to. The only problem is that I couldn't do enough good things to keep bad things from happening to me. And every time a bad thing happened it started this cycle of self-pity all over again.

-My job is unfair right now. I work so hard to do things the right way at work, but no one seems to care about that.
-My marriage is hard. I put so much work into making sure that we're doing well, and for whatever reason I just can't catch a break.
-My friends don't care about me as much as they should. I'm the best friend in the world to them and they can't even repay me with a little of their time.
-etc., etc., etc.

These images of my reactions started to play in my head as I realized my disease. It wasn't that I was unusual, or that my situations were worse than everyone else's. It was that when something happened to me, my first reaction was to wonder how that effects me and why it's not fair. It was exhausting!

So I was telling Ashley all of this the other day, relishing in the freeing truth that there is no such thing as a "good guy". I don't have to live like the world is against me. I can just keep doing things the best way I know how and understanding that life isn't always going to go exactly how you planned. I think the better test of a man and his "goodness" is how he can respond to the tough situations that will fall on him. No more self-pity, no more "Woe is me!!", no more disillusionment. I am not a good guy. Who needs all that pressure? I'm just Collin. And I'm ok with that.

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