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Growing up, I never understood why I always felt I had to strive to be perfect. I was a firstborn and the center of attention for six years until my brother was born. My brother being born wasn’t his fault. This new fella was an intruder in my castle, he came and took away all my attention. I was now an outcast in my castle and facing a crisis. I was dethroned by this thing, and it will stay.

I now understand hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I see clearly that being firstborn caused me to be a perfectionist. Until I was six, my role models were my mom and dad. I was their center of attention. For me to imitate them, I had to be perfect. Then, all of a sudden, I no longer mattered. “Why wasn’t I good enough?” I acted out selfishly to gain their attention, which never worked. I even had stricter rules and regulations because I was the oldest. Since I felt my life was controlled. I had acted out and didn’t think about my actions. When my parents would push me and be strict with me, I learned to lie to tell my parents what they wanted to hear. It was much easier to lie than to be physically punished. Therefore, I had two lives. Shane lived around my parents and ran with my peers. I never knew how to think for myself because my life had been so controlled. 

Subsequently, I realize that the old Shane had an external facade when, indeed, beneath was an inner rebellion. I felt inferior and not up to par. I never felt quite good enough. I felt like I had to prove myself again and again. This undercurrent of inferiority created a battle that evolved into a pattern and a defeating personality. I acted very much in charge and could handle adult situations. But inside, I was scared and angry and acted out, seeking attention. Truthfully, I was nowhere near as in control as I tried to appear. I trapped myself in my prison with this facade. 

Through emotional self-examination, growth, and becoming responsible for my own life, I have managed my self-concept. I have valued decisions that create positive results with earned rewards. The new Shane takes responsibility for his choices and decisions. Looking at my life reframed and through new lenses, I see how distorted the view became as I adopted so many false beliefs through my distorted perception. I still have to tighten up some screws and polish out some scratches, but my life is in transition with a healthier concept. I’m no longer an outcast and that intruder, the thing that dethroned me; my brother is the one I look up to and strive to be like; he has never let me down.

Looking back, I now know that as the firstborn, I was looked up to, trusted, and someone my siblings could count on. However, due to my poor choices in the past, I let them down. In turn, I have become responsible for my own life. I have created such an amazing person that my siblings now look up to in a positive light, and even more so, others do, too.

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