Why Fit in When I Was Meant to Stand Out?
A couple of days ago, I was ready to go into a full-on rant. In fact, I had several hundred words typed. If I’ve learned nothing else over the years, it’s to sit on things for a day or so when they spark my ire. Once again, I’m glad I did.
Let me give you a bit of background. Although I’m an introvert and inherently shy, I learned, early on to both mask it and protect my soft inner core (you’ve probably heard this before as I mention it on occasion). In some ways, I may have learned too well as I’ve been accused of being intimidating (and that’s one of the nicer things people say).
Whine All You Want…As Long As You Fight Your Own Battles
It’s brought its own share of problems, especially from people who feel they need to stifle me in some way. I don’t really mind if someone comes to me and raises an issue. But all too often, the complaints are far more insidious because they come from those who prefer to try to shake my confidence by going through what, in their weak minds is the proper channels.
These channels have, over my lifetime ranged from complaints to my manager about a conversation they overheard to a full-on written complaint accusing me (falsely of course) of harassment. In the past, these complaints have had the desired result; they’ve shaken my confidence and made me the object of unnecessary scrutiny.
The latest example occurred in my critique group, and at first, made me very angry. So angry I missed the last meeting where I’d submitted one of my chapters for critique. I have mixed feelings now, but feel that, in the overall scheme of things, skipping the meeting until I got things into perspective in my own mind was in everyone’s best interests.
Once emotion left the equation and logic took over, I understood that this is just another lesson in setting boundaries. In the past, I’ve done one of two things; either I changed myself, albeit unwillingly, or I retreated into my hermit hole, limiting interactions to the absolutely necessary.
I’m not going to do that this time. I am the person I am, warts and all. I don’t set out to offend people, but occasionally I do. If the person I offended brings it to my attention, I am apologetic and appreciate knowing that something which seemed innocuous to me was offensive to them.
Drawing a Line in the Sand
However, this time around, I’ve made the decision to ignore anything which comes through a third party or intermediary. If a person hasn’t got the balls to speak up for themselves, they can be as offended as they want to be. It’s not my problem. I’m done with catering to those who hide behind excuses like I’m too shy to talk to her or I’m an introvert or she scares me. I’m also finished with the ones who play damsel in distress and play upon the male ego to get someone to save them. Sorry, ladies, but that’s the biggest crock I’ve ever seen. Grow up, take responsibility for yourself and stop playing people. That’s just manipulative and passive-aggressive.
Sure, there will be an elephant in the room for awhile, but as far as I’m concerned, people are either going to have to learn to talk to me directly or stew in their own juices, and frankly, I’m not married to either outcome.
I also feel it is inconsiderate in the extreme to involve other people in something which is ludicrous in the first place. It isn’t that my behavior is especially bothersome to them at all. It’s that they resent someone who, at least in appearance, seems stronger, smarter and more capable than they are. Having been married to an alcoholic, I recognize this need to bring people down to your level. I’ve just decided to decline any future invitations to this party, but thanks anyway.
The long and the short of it is, I don’t ask anyone to change to please me. I will no longer entertain any suggestions, complaints or requests that I change to please someone else, and especially if the requester uses someone else as their mouthpiece. If they don’t like me, nobody is forcing them to spend time in my presence.
And Still, There’s Gratitude
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for recurring lessons as they remind me to be true to myself.
2. I am grateful for my personal therapist which always allows me to work things through from different angles.
3. I am grateful for the opportunities which are coming my way to write about different things and new places.
4. I am grateful for my daughter who is as anal about organization, deadlines and responsibility as I am, if not more.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, life, motivation, inspiration, opportunities, words, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!
The featured image is courtesy of Scott Akerman via Flikr