Do you ever wonder about your perception of yourself? Is it accurate? Do you see yourself better than others do? Or worse?
Me? Well, I’m confused. It is not uncommon for someone I have recently spent time getting to know to comment that I’m not how they thought I would be when they met me. I usually just chock that up to the fact that I’m a slow warmer (takes me a while to warm up to people and feel comfortable around them generally). More often than not it’s a positive thing they’re trying to say. They think I’m funnier or more fun than they thought I would be. They think I’m smarter and more articulate than they thought I would be. Etc. I’ll usually comment that my inside doesn’t match my outside, and I wonder just what kind of vibes I give off upon first meeting. I mean, do I look like a boring idiot? Should I change my hair? Anyway, the point being people usually tell me things about me that are good things. Most people are kind and don’t want to hurt people on purpose. So, I think this has a lot to do with that, but most people aren’t gonna make that junk up, either.
What do I think of myself? I’m generally pretty confident in who I am at this point of my life, at least in the aspect of accepting myself so I can grow. If I were to describe myself, though, I would tell you I’m socially awkward, weird, OCD, anxious, incapable of telling a joke (in person), ditzy, plain, slow, weak. I could go on. Negative first because those are the things up front and center in my mind because I want to work on them.
I’m almost always surprised when I hear someone compliment me or comment on me in a positive way. Even if it’s something I know I just aced.
I recently participated in a local 5k. I got a PR, and generally crushed it without much intentional training. I signed up just a couple weeks before the race, right before the T-shirt cut off date. Still, crushing it for me isn’t really all that fast, at least not in my mind. Someone I met at the gym I go to asked me about it when I saw her next. She said she saw me at the start line and decided she would try to keep up with me. Keeping me in sight was her goal. Me. I was shocked at her comment ALL day and obviously it left a big enough impression to be writing about it now.
I recently posted a video on my social media called My Fit Friend vs Mewhere a very fit woman is balancing on a board on a foam roller while rotating a weight plate around in front of her. One of those balance plus coordination plus strength things that few people can master. Then there was a shot of a less fit woman attempting the same thing, slipping off the roller and the board flipping up to hit her inner thigh. I posted it laughing because I saw myself as the less fit woman. A friend of mine, one of those amazing people who is able to be honest with me in a positive and growth inspiring way, texted me to say, “you know you’re the fit friend, right?” I stared at her text wondering who she really meant to send it to. Then she said, “you’re the fit friend, dummy.” I’m the fit friend? Nuh uh. I’m the forever chasing fit friend.
The inside most definitely doesn’t match the outside. My inner perception vs reality. I set goals, chase them, and crush them without much fan fare because by the time I achieve them, I already have a new goal ready to chase. I don’t think that’s a bad trait to have, but maybe I should allow myself to see the progress for what it is. Maybe I should allow myself to be the fit friend. I catalog negative traits and work toward changing them because I want to grow and be better than I was yesterday, but maybe I should allow myself to feel more proud of the positive traits, especially if they used to be negative. Maybe I should put a few of those positive traits up front and center in my personal description of myself.
Bottom line of this rambling post: if you see or think something positive about someone, tell them. Even if they seem like they must hear it all the time, your voice might be an incredible source of encouragement and strength they need to fight their internal negative voice. AND, Try accepting those positive comments about yourself as truth. Try seeing yourself a little more like the people who love you see you. They’re not lying.