How to stop being a douche bag and what to do after you have…

The last three years have been extremely transformative.  Life has a tendency to throw challenges at you and you have the option of letting it define you or letting it build you.  For me this is challenging, because of the way I was raised, I learned to run from painful experiences, look on them as if they were a bad thing, and I would lose the opportunity to examine why they occurred and what I could learn.  Needless to say, this created some churn in my personal and professional life.  The problem with this approach was that I would close myself off, blame others for what occurred, and not take accountability for my own part.  This also made me very selfish, I was angry often, and would ask why me.  In short I was acting like a douche bag.  I should have been asking why not me, why are people acting this way, what am I putting out there and what is the root of all of this.

I believe that I have been extremely fortunate and blessed that I have an amazing wife who has stood by me through thick and thin and was a key to helping me examine this and do some very hard and important work on the root of this behavior.  I also can’t say enough for my best friend Gary who always showed me love and created a safe friendship where I could actually hear what I needed too even if it was not pleasant.  My main issue was that like many people I didn’t deal with the hurts and pains of my past.  I, like my father, and many men of his generation, just buried and and hoped it would go away.  It NEVER goes away, no matter how far or fast you run.  Plus, the not so good side effect in my case was I became a douche bag.  This was never my intention and after looking back it is hard for me still to see how I didn’t see it happening and if I had only dealt with some of my issues some of the pain that I could of spared people that were close to me.

After I had come to grips with what I had become I was finally ready to do the work to make some major changes.  Change is not comfortable, it can be painful, and it can be hard.  In my case, I wanted people to care about me, to respect me, and to enjoy being around me.  The problem was, you can’t give what you don’t have.  I didn’t feel any of these things for myself personally, so how could I expect others to do this let alone return this to them.  Once I had learned to care for myself, I found that I actually could care and love other people they way they deserved.  I also had to repair some relationships.  This was one of the hardest things for me, but it was key to helping me forgive myself even if not everyone could reciprocate.  I have no malice or anger for those that couldn’t forgive me, hey I was a douche bag and it is not always easy to forgive someone who has hurt you.  However, I wanted to let them know that I do care about them, I was truly sorry, and that I understood how I made them feel and took full responsibility for what I did.

These were keys to helping me stop being a douche bag, but even more important to ensure that I don’t go down this road again.  I can’t say I always do this well, but I don’t push down the issues that come into my life anymore.  My faith, my family and my friends were absolutely key to this transformative experience and I can’t express in words how much I love and appreciate them.  I don’t wish this path on anyone, but if you do find yourself acting like a douche bag please know that your past doesn’t have to define you and that you can finish better than you started.  In my case this has changed everything and the future is now very bright.