I’ve always regarded myself as being fairly self-aware. Especially so during my post-marriage years.
I know my strengths and my weaknesses.
I am hyper-vigilant, anxious, sensitive and stubborn.
But I am also kind, intelligent, lively, strong and imaginative.
I was surprised recently when someone told me that I lacked curiosity and initiative.
I’ve always considered myself to have those characteristics in abundance, I thought they were part of my DNA.
Just ask my ex, who was regularly woken at the crack of dawn to be told about my latest crazy business idea, was once forced to spend a weekend at a seminar on setting up your own B&B and came along for the ride as I bought and sold six properties over the course of our relationship.
I think curiosity and initiative also saved me when my marriage ended. They encouraged me to look outward as well as inward as I sought a new path for myself.
They inspire me every day to find ways to improve my surroundings and life.
They’ve been a driving force behind me launching two blogs, discovering the joy of photography and exploring the natural world.
I felt angry at first when I heard the other person’s view of my character. Then I was distressed. Finally, I laughed at the implausibility of their view.
Me? Lacking in curiosity and initiative? Pffffft!
But it was a reminder of just how differently you can be perceived by others compared to the way you perceive yourself.
I ended up deciding the person’s frank opinion was an opportunity to take stock and consider whether I needed to work on those aspects of my character. Had I lost my inquisitiveness and dynamism in the maelstrom of single motherhood and menopause?
No, I don’t think so.
On the other hand, I could work on having stronger self-belief.
I’ve never forgotten this interchange between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman …
Vivian : People put you down enough, you start to believe it.
Edward Lewis : I think you are a very bright, very special woman.
Vivian : The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?
Yep, the bad stuff is waaaaaay easier to believe, but it’s not the key to contentment.
I really want more of that in my life and less of the voice in my head that agrees with the put downs.
Geez it’s hard, though.
In the end, I thanked the person for their character assessment. Why? Because I learned something about them from it: that they didn’t know me very well at all.
Song of the day: Savage Garden “Affirmation”