A few months ago, my roommate Hollee and I talked about a joke we saw that suggested changing your Twitter handle to your biggest character flaw and favorite food. I asked her what she thought my biggest character flaw was, and I was a little bit surprised by her answer, but then she explained and we talked more about it. Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that my handle would be @SelflessSpaghetti.
I have a habit of focusing on others before myself. I don’t mean this in a braggy way. I’m not saying that I’m selfless because I’m just that great of a person. I think it has always been easier for me to exhaust myself for other people than to reflect and deal with my own issues. I’ve written before about how hard it is to ask for help, but it’s even harder to ask for help if you refuse to recognize the problem in the first place.
They say you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. I’ve always kind of wrestled with this idea because I think it’s important to love and support other people, but I usually feel uncomfortable making my own happiness a priority. I’ve spent so much time trying to train myself to focus on others. Now, it feels wrong to focus on myself.
After Hollee pointed this out and explained that selflessness is actually my biggest flaw, I was able to realize how much this has affected my life, especially in the last few years. I know I don’t always take care of myself like I should, and I prioritize my friends’ needs before my own. I never really thought of that as a bad thing until Hollee said something. I mean, I low-key felt attacked, even though I asked for her complete honesty. She brought up specific times when I’d committed to more responsibility with the newspaper than I could handle, or said I’d help someone in one of my classes despite already having too much on my plate. She recalled watching me go without eating or sleeping a few times in order to get it all done.
“You’ve straight up neglected your basic needs before,” she said. “There was even that one time that you fell asleep in your Eeyore onesie because you’d made yourself physically sick. Jaisa, stress and taking on too much at once can lower your immune system. You’re basically begging for an illness all the time.”
So, I essentially got a lecture from my roommate about how I really needed to start taking care of myself – “or else.” But it wasn’t all bad. She also said that she envied my selflessness, and that it was also my greatest strength. I just needed to find a balance between taking care of others and also taking care of myself.
I continued the conversation by turning the tables on her.
Long story short, her Twitter handle would be @AnxiousCheeseburger. It’s hard for Hollee to make new friends because her anxiety keeps her from approaching people first. There are opportunities that she has missed out on because she was too anxious to take them. Her nervousness has also made her physically sick several times. When things are out of her control, she starts to shut down and back out of everything. She’s so extremely smart, and I know she’s capable of so much, but she is oftentimes too afraid to put herself out there or too afraid of failing.
I think it’s important to have these kinds of conversations with your friends because real friends will tell you the truth, and they care enough to help you improve. The point is that everyone has some sort of weakness — an ultimate character flaw that keeps them from living their best life. There’s always room to grow, and all you have to do is to find your Achilles’ heel and own up to it. Or, as Hollee put it, “check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
So, what’s your new Twitter handle going to be?