Recently I have begun encountering a defense mechanism that is unlike any other that I have seen before. More and more people in my life have started to employ its use and after much thought and consideration I have equated its use to pop culture and bad parenting. Despite these truths its presence is no less real and annoyance no less great.
I’ll give you a quick scenario. Say your roommate continually leaves out garbage, dirty dishes or allows their clutter to spread into common spaces. When you, being the level-headed and obvious angel of courtesy that you are, broach the subject with said kraken you are met with this response, “OMG, I KNOW! I am just such a slob, sorries!”

At first the amount of self-awareness that your roommate has of their own downfall can come off as reassuring. You may leave this conversation overly consoled. You didn’t even have to be the one to call her/him a gross, icky, disgusting slob- they did it to themselves! How great, how perfectly easy it all was.

But then.

Weeks go by and you realize the problem has in fact not been fixed. Your conversation did nothing to spark a fire of change under your roommate’s heinous hygiene routine. When brought up again, the same response is given; more self-realization on their part, more confirmation of your concerns that they are in fact a complete ne'er-do-well.
And there you are in your cluttered and foul smelling apartment dumbfounded as to what has transpired.

Even though this is only one specific example, this kind of behavior is running rampant among people all around me. Friends, foes and all those in-between have begun to use self-admittance of negative characteristics as some sort of affirmation of a personality trait they seem pride themselves on.

It’s as if they believe admitting upfront that they are a “bitch, slut, brash, or slob” makes the negative connotation associated with such less so. It’s as if they are trying to beat you to punch. If they can say about it themselves first, you have nothing left to say, right?

Wrong! I have lots to say about this, namely that you aren’t fooling anyone! I see your tactics and I wish for you to stop. Outwardly recognizing your worst characteristic and yet making no moves to change it is doing absolutely nothing for you in the long run.

I’ve heard so many of my girlfriends say things like, “I’m a bitch, that’s just who I am and if a man can’t handle that, well then he can’t handle me.” Well, let me tell you something sweetheart: no one wants to “handle” someone. Me thinks that no man goes to his local watering hole hoping to find a woman that he can merely “handle” for the evening, most certainly not for the rest of his life.

Not that I’m saying mating is the end-all-be-all of life’s ambitions. The formula that these self-realizers are adhering to could be applied to friendships, work-place relationships and familial ties as well. Simply understanding the things about yourself that turn people off and addressing them as some sort of funny kitschy thing that makes you “you” is bound to burn some bridges.

I know no one wants to run around being someone they aren’t, or lure friends/lovers under false pretenses. But the idea that you can have it all; love, career, and happiness without ever having to take an inward look into you really are is a complete fallacy. If you are reading this thinking, “O thank god, that’s not me, I am completely WELL-ROUNDED.” Trust me you aren’t. It may be time to take your head out of the sand and see how your actions are affecting the people around you, before the only person around you is you.

Author's Bio: 

Danae Matthews writes for the on-line women’s health resource Women’s Health Base where she just started a new blog, Danae's Corner