What Don’t You Like in Yourself that You Like in Others?

I’m not opposed to swearing, and I am now and then favorably impressed by someone’s perfectly appropriate use of a swearwords. But I usually try to avoid swearing myself.

That’s partly because — once I get started — I boringly overindulge.  And it’s also because I’m not very clever at it.  In my clumsy hands, swear words become mere meaningless intensifiers.  No more amusing than exclamation points. I’m one of those people who would risk putting you to sleep if I started cussing at you.

Hence, I tend to avoid swearing while often enough admiring it in people who can do it better than me.

Which raises the question:  What don’t you like in yourself that you like in others?

25 thoughts on “What Don’t You Like in Yourself that You Like in Others?

  1. It usually works the other way around, doesn’t it? For example – and I’ve told this story before because it is a classic case of projection – a local judge who was the least tolerant and compassionate toward drug addicts turned out to be the worst drug addict of them all. He was arrested for possession of cocaine and various other controlled substances after his family staged an intervention. That was two days after one of my drug addicted clients appeared in front of him and avoided prison only by the skin of his teeth.

    Speaking of swearing, I once had to listen to over 6 hours of taped conversations between one of my jailed clients and his various family members. I’ve never heard so many creative yet completely meaningless uses of the term “fuck.” Even grandma repeatedly said “fuckin'” to modify just about every verb and noun that came out of her mouth. It was as palatable and meaningful as one light beer mixed with 3 gallons of toilet water. After 6 hours I felt like I’d been hanging out with a low form of plant life. Algae, maybe.

    Swearing with intelligence is a fine art.

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  2. I only swear while driving, but when my kids were little soaking up everything in the back seat, I was forced to make up faux swears, since they would copy me. Oh, ship! for example. Anyway, eventually we were all trained in the best swearing on the planet by watching The Wire, several times, all seasons. There’s no swear we haven’t heard. They are swearing geniuses on that show.

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  3. I wonder if “liking-yourself” is one of our many character rheostats (see my sketch here): IOW, some folks really like themselves, and some folks not so much. Consequently, without knowing that setting before dialoguing, two speakers can talk right past each other with their words having completely different nuances.

    That said, I am strongly on the “like-myself” side of center for that possible trait. So your question made me struggle. I know lots of things I am bad at and admire how others do — heck, I agree, many folk are much better at swearing than I am. But I don’t “dislike” my inability to swear at all. But damn, how I wish I could make it flow a bit more beautifully. As another example: I work with a guy who is just very suave with both men and women — I can’t do that if I try. I admire it in him but don’t dislike it in myself.

    So I am going to assume you meant the softer version –> “What do you wish you could do a bit better and admire and others?” <– well, hell, the list is huge.

    Concerning swearing — I am amazed at the creative swearing that some cultures can pull off without even using a taboo swear word. Instead, they artistically weave normal words to allude to very taboo implications which force the listener to enter their imaginative realm and participate in the insult — ouch, a double slam!

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    • I have long admired the way French speakers, just by casting the right intonation, can turn a civil word into a curse. If you don’t know what I mean, just try exclaiming the names of some of our politicians in a French accent laced with contempt.

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    • Fascinating comments! It would take a blog post or two to address some of them.

      By the way — I was thinking of the Five Traits Model while I wrote this — I almost incorporated it into the post, but decided that could wait until a later post.

      It’s probably true for most of us that the more we like ourselves, the more we want others to be like us. But I wonder if that’s such an advisable thing. It seems to me, I have increased my appreciation for life by recognizing achievements and traits in other people that I wouldn’t necessarily want for myself.

      On another note, Sabio, I once had upstairs neighbors who would curse at each other just about every evening. It went on for a year or more, and I had plenty of time to observe that they only had three cuss words between them. Fucker, motherfucker, and cunt. At one point, I found myself fantasizing about handing them a list of suggested curses — things like, “you mean no more than the puss in a bear’s infected anus to me.” I was desperate for variety.

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  4. I’d like to be as good a hypocrite as most English speakers. They get that from their British heritage. I am referring to saying the food is good when they hate it, or praising something they don’t like, just to be agreeable. I would love to do that. I try, but so far, all I’ve been able to muster is a blank stare, when I’m looking for agreeable things to say, even thought I may dislike or even hate the food, gadget, etc.

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    • Interesting, Lorena! I’ve never been able to observe that people of British heritage are more or less inclined to be hypocrites than are people of other heritages. Then again, I’m not well-traveled. Consequently, I have believed Jiddu Krishnamurti when he’s said that hypocrisy is a function of consciousness.

      But to address your main point: I used to find it quite a burden to pretend to like something I didn’t like. Then, I began to see there was usually something I liked even in things that I didn’t overall like. The choice of food might suck, but it might be well cooked. Or vice versa.

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  5. I think I’d have to agree with Sabio on the concept of wishing I possessed a trait inherent in someone else, that I don’t particularly have, but don’t necessarily dislike about myself. That was clear as mud, eh? I’d have to say confidence would be it. I am a bit envious of the confidence some people display in their abilities and talents. When I attempt to be confident I feel like I’m being arrogant and a braggart. Not my style.

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  6. Neediness. Given an opportunity, it would be easy for me to permit another to take responsibility for my happiness. Not surprisingly, I have a nearly visceral, jump-out-of-my-crawling skin reaction to people who would place their happiness in my hands.

    I am not referring to the need for people to be kind and considerate of one another. Sometimes it is even appropriate to put another person’s needs ahead of one’s own. However, this is not the same as taking on the burden of making another person happy, content, functional in his or her core. If one the loved says to the beloved, “If only you loved me back, I could be happy,” then he or she is bringing no happiness or strength to the relationship. Otherwise, he or she could be happy at some level, even while experiencing the sadness of rejection.

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  7. It’s been a while since I visited this blog but this seemed like an interesting topic. One thing I don’t like in myself that I like in others is the sexual confidence some women seem to possess. I’m very sexually confident myself, but it seems to be more of a private matter. Plus, my partners have questioned it. I have trouble asking for what I want in a relationship, but especially in bed. I envy women who seem to do this with ease, and who seem to get relationships with ease.

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    • Far from questioning sexual confidence, your partners should be pleased that you are making an effort to communicate your sexual needs. Sex is a bit like conversation. When one partner understands the other better, the second partner usually begins to understand more about the first one. Then, everyone’s happy.

      As a practical matter, try writing down what you would like. This might embolden you to say what you want. If that doesn’t work, you can let your partner read your little note. If the idea of committing your fantasies to hard copy makes you blush, try writing them in toothpaste on the bathroom mirror. You can wash them off in the morning and then smile at yourself in the mirror while remember the activities of the night before.

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    • Psychologists have remarked for decades that women seem to get a tremendous boost in sexual confidence during their early to mid 30s. I don’t know if you want to wait, but apparently you’re headed in the direction you want to head.

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