Paul McAleer

On being boring

Paul McAleer

Every now and then two very closely intertwined thoughts enter my head: "Am I boring?" and "What if I have nothing else to say?" My gut instinct is to angrily say no to both: I am not boring, and I always have something to say. And yet it's a denial, because both statements may be true.

The power of boring

A lot of this, for me, ties back to two things: how much power I put in others' opinions of me, and how much I've loaded the concept of being boring with negative connotations.

The first is something I am continually working on. I've written about it several times already - how at times I've DDOSed myself, tried to question my opinions about myself - with an overall theme of self-acceptance. But for quite some time now, there has been a big part of me that has put so much value in others' opinions that I let them steamroll my own. Part of my current journey is finding my own voice - and giving it a chance to speak. I acknowledge that some of this is an old pattern of mine.

For me, then, a good chunk of this is associated with my wanting to be a people-pleaser. I want people to have a great experience with me, no matter what. I want people to speak well of me, not ill. And I want to be noted as a "nice guy". These are things that I have carried around with me like so much debt for so long of my life; easily, for my entire adulthood.

On the other hand, what exactly is wrong with being boring? In reviewing the definition of the word, none of the synonyms nor definitions sound positive to me or could be construed as such. I have given this word a lot of power because, truly, I don't want people to have a negative impression of me. I want negative words to be really far away from me.

Pleasing everyone, satisfying no one

I like it when things are harmonious; it makes me feel good and to some degree, proud. Thus I strive for a balance and overall calm in almost everything I do. An eternally positive experience is something to design for, sure, but it is also not realistic. You can't design others' emotions nor reactions, and there's no way to control others. Things I say and do may cause discomfort in others. I have intellectually accepted that, and now I am working on feeling that fully and understanding what that means.

One key part of understanding one's emotions is to first recognize them. This is the recognition - this is what you are seeing. Steering that into more of a phase of self-love and self-care is the next step. The pieces are here, they're already a part of me (I'm faking nothing), and I need to put those pieces together. Doing so will help me be more whole.

And, maybe, boring!