Your Own Perception Can Be More Enemy Than Friend
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last decade or two undoing a lot of my early conditioning and beliefs. I truly like the me I’ve become in the process, but didn’t realize I’d skipped a huge step in my internal renovations. While I’d changed how I presented myself to the word, and shown more of my perfectly imperfect self, I’d failed to alter my thinking regarding how others perceived me.
In other words, deep inside, I still believed people saw me as the reserved, closed off woman who never let anyone see her flaws, and as a result was unapproachable and cold. Though I’ve been enjoying the connection with other people, I had yet to truly believe others saw me as someone they looked forward to seeing, or felt comfortable with. The job of becoming a warmer, more compassionate person was only half done because I was unable to see how much I’d changed not only in how I felt about me, but in how others saw me too.
Realization began to dawn when I did one of those personality games on Facebook. The result I got is in the image. I shared it with the comment “this one made me laugh”. To my surprise, a woman I’d met in the last year or so commented that she agreed with the result. Not only that, she said I put her at ease. Of course, I was touched, but I was also stunned. Someone feels comfortable with me, and thinks I put them at ease? How can that be? My inner voice started clamoring.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Someone else I only get to see occasionally told me they always look forward to seeing me, and made it clear we have a connection that goes both ways. Wow! It seems I’ve been so focused on my inner work, I’d completely missed seeing how much it was becoming a part of my outer self as well.
Letting Others Decide What They Think
I realize you never really know how you’re perceived unless someone comes out and tells you, but it’s become abundantly clear I haven’t learned to believe people are truly and honestly happy to see me and include me in their lives. I’ve been so used to being on the outskirts of any group, or worse, tolerated, I failed to recognize it was no longer true. Deep down, I’m still waiting for that moment when I say or do something wrong, and am back on the outside looking in.
There’s a position on the Celtic Cross Tarot spread I’ve used for years entitled “how others see you”. I’m learning I have a lot of work to do as far as reading this one correctly. My inner child spent long years believing she could never belong; that she was destined to be an outsider for the rest of her life.
It didn’t matter how many positive changes I made. They would all be for me, and would go unnoticed, even by those I called “friend”; not because I was still trying to fit in instead of being myself, but because I’d falsely accepted a role as an outsider, and never realized I’d been projecting my insecurities and false beliefs on the people around me. Just as I’ll occasionally hear an inner dialogue where someone I see is viewing all my imperfections with disgust, when they’re likely thinking nothing of the sort, and probably, aren’t aware of me at all, I put thoughts based on my lifelong insecurities into the unknowing, unwilling minds of my friends and acquaintances.
Learning to Set Judgement Aside
While I’m honored, blessed, and grateful for what is clearly a much more positive impact than I gave myself credit for, I’m a bit ashamed for misjudging the people I started attracting when I stopped trying so hard to fit in, and began letting them see who and what I truly am.
Like everything else in life, I know things happen for a reason, and in their own time. This is no chicken and egg situation. I had to make the changes in myself first. The next step is learning to believe the effort I’ve put into making those changes is clearly visible to those who’ve given me a chance to not only be my authentic self, but to belong for the first time in my life. In truth, I need to have a lot more faith in the people who are in my world now by choice. Not one of them is the cruel, unhappy person I used to attract, not because I found comfort there, but because I attracted what fit my own self-image.
Given the Chance, People Will Surprise You
In the past, I was constantly surprised (and not pleasantly) by how mean and hurtful people could be. Today, the people I know and love surprise me with the depths of compassion and acceptance they constantly exhibit without hesitation or prejudice.
I’m still fumbling around; dismissing some who deserve my compassion and openness, trusting some who don’t. I’m working hard to be more trusting and accepting. I feel better about myself, and frankly, the amount of damage those who don’t deserve my trust can do these days is minimal, and easily cast off. I know their unkindness is a reflection of their own pain, and is neither personally directed at me, nor even conscious all the time. I keep my bucket of imaginary heart- or star-shaped confetti handy for those people, and administer it abundantly.
I’m also working on that inner dialogue that erroneously sees others remarking on those flaws to which I continue to give overmuch credit in my own head. I’m learning no matter how much you do to change your beliefs of yourself, the job isn’t complete until you stop allowing yourself to believe others still see the person you used to be. Sometimes, that’s the toughest change of all.
Looking at the World With a Grateful Heart
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for friends who offer feedback which debunks my own mistaken beliefs.
- I’m grateful for the people who are attracted to the new, authentic person I’ve worked so hard to become.
- I’m grateful for being proven wrong.
- I’m grateful for a warm, loving, compassionate community which opened its arms to me without judgement, reservations, or expectations.
- I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, joy, compassion, lessons, dancing, energy, opportunities, motivation, inspiration, peace, health, prosperity, and philanthropy.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward