Who Do You Think You Are?

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We are at the mercy of how others perceive us. We have to put our best foot forward, and present ourselves in a manner that makes us pleasant to others. Presentation is such an important part of interpersonal communication. Do I want to be seen as professional? Fun? Nice? Smart? Competent? Do I want these people to like me? Respect me? Do I even care?

For me, most of the time, I seek to been seen as competent, fun, and unique. Oh, and smart. I really work hard to learn as much as I can, and I truly value intelligence. So, how do I react when others are not so impressed by me? I lash out. I get defensive. I run away. (I mean, seriously… who needs that??? Everybody wants somebody to love.)

So, at what point does it cease being an act of running away, and more a calculated and planned change in environment? How much crap are you supposed to ignore? How do you quantify your hurt feelings? Worse, is it all you? Does this indicate that you are somehow defunct? Broken, malfunctioning?

Now, if we truly seek to be improving in our lives, as I so obviously seek to do, then we must take a moment to reflect. How much of the issue is due to your performance? How much of it is due to a personality conflict? How much of it makes no sense at all?

So, if you are failing to meet some expectation in your performance, you need to develop an action plan. There may be resources you need to utilize. Perhaps there is a knowledge deficit. Seriously, these are the easiest culprits to manage and fix. There is usually some specific behavior that you have not mastered. Okay, that is great. That says nothing about you as a person. Actually, it could speak to your willingness to learn and improve. This is where having mentors is helpful. They can guide you to the appropriate resources, and give you feedback throughout your process, allowing you to know how you are improving, and what is still missing or not correct. This relationship with your mentors will be very important. They are taking time to teach, and you have to be humble in order to accept criticism in the manner it is being offered. Criticism is simply critique, it is nothing personal. This is the best sort of problem to have. Easy to fix, as long as you are willing to do the work.

Now, for the things that are a personality conflict, you should probably analyze whether or not you are being overly difficult. (Now, this one kinda irks me- I feel like women tend to be labeled as difficult far more often than men, and I actually think that working with many men is way more difficult- they just don’t get the label.) However, it is probably something that you should evaluate. Do you allow your outside life to interfere, do your moods shift with the wind? Are you overly critical and difficult to please? Do you stop using common courtesy when speaking to others? Are you argumentative? Are you boring? Do you ignore the other person’s ideas? So, if you are difficult to get along with, you should probably take a long look at your behavior, and change the negative aspects. No one expects you to be perfect, but you do need to be nice and courteous to others. (It’s just the right thing to do.) Besides, there is a reason Thumper said “If you can’t say nothin nice, don’t say nothin at all.”

Now, in the event that someone is being mean to you for no apparent reason, you are left with a choice. Man up, confront them, and be willing to accept the consequences, or let it go. This is where it gets difficult. There is absolutely no way to change someone’s mind about how they feel about you, if it actually has nothing to do with you. This is where evaluating your part in the situation comes in handy. You have to work to change the parts you are responsible for. This is all part of trying to be a better person. You are not responsible for how others feel about you. Frankly, it is none of your business. All you can do is be the best that you can be.

So, what now? What if you are in a relationship that is leaving you feeling bad? What if you are banging your head against a wall, trying to please someone, and they just don’t care? They do not see all the good that you do, how hard you are trying? Then, you have to ask yourself why are you staying in this relationship? Any relationship should be mutually beneficial. Yes, there are ebbs and flows, but in the long run it should even out.

This is where so many friendships falter over time. As people grow and change, sometimes they outgrow each other. You see, relationships take effort. If It takes two to tango, well, it takes two to be in a relationship. One- sided relationships are not actually good for anyone. Resentment builds and grows as the injured party becomes passive aggressive and then both people end up hurting.

Mentors can help in so many areas. I would think that they are generally someone older and wiser, who have something about life figured out. You can have professional mentors, mentors for your marriage, heck, you can even have people you look up to for advice on all your relationships. It is always helpful to be seeking enlightenment, and trying to be better. Be more. Do more.

So, as long as you are willing to do the work, and to look at yourself and your part in any relationship, then you are on a path of enrichment.

Do not allow hurt feelings to rule your actions. Take a step back and evaluate the situation. If the relationship is important to you, then you need to work it out. If it is not important to you, is it actually worth all the stress? Should you break free and run? Walk out with purpose? Glare accusingly at the person who “ran you off?” Probably not. You should never burn bridges. You should always leave the door open for reconciliation.

Knowing when it is time to say goodbye:

I have no idea how you know when it is right. I have no clue as to how to quantify your emotions. I do know that you have to take care of yourself, and keep your goals and dreams as a priority. It is okay if those goals change over time. We are in a constant state of evolution, and as we evolve and grow our goals should too. There is no shame in moving on.

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