Tuesday, February 17, 2015

People Say the Darnedest Things

Several weeks ago, someone told me my leadership skills were in need of tweaking. Coincidentally that same week, I heard some no longer wish to come to my classes. During my first pregnancy, I was asked if I ate my way to 50+lb weight gain.

But wait...

At work last week, I was asked to give high school students a motivational speech. This week, a chance yoga student one day last summer invited me to teach yoga at a big event abroad, and one of my yoga clients and long time regular of the studio at which I work stayed behind until everyone left to tell me that I am the best teacher. I am genuine. I have a good voice. She says. Dear Lord did that swell my heart.

I give a lot of myself to people I meet. What I get is an unpredictable mixed bag of reactions. Some don't know what to do with my TRUTH. Some tell me "I'm so nice." Some like to mention "I tell it like it is." Some find me a breath of fresh air. Some are passive aggressive toward me. Many are positively sublime and leave a lasting impression on me...

Such TRUTH makes you vulnerable.

In a professional setting, passion is misconstrued as emotion. We working women, especially in leadership positions, know what it's like to be dismissed as "too emotional." That's our Achilles heel. Men like to use it against us, but what is worse is that other woman use it against each other! You know? Like when we hear the biggest insults to women with words that rhyme with "booker," "bore," and "hitch" hurled at us, it's SO easy to get riled up. It's the equivalent of a sucker punch.

I am the same person at work, at yoga, with friends and with strangers (obviously, with varying degrees of intimacy). 95% of the time I hear that I'm doing amazing things, but then 5% of the time I hear I'm doing the exact opposite. (Now, I'm not talking about the constructive criticism...that part is lumped in the 95%...I'm talking about the downright rude left-field 5%)

Once, in yoga teacher training years back, one of my teachers, Robert Birnberg, said something that hit me.

Just because YOU don't think it's the truth doesn't mean that isn't the truth to someone else. Everyone has his own truth.

This fact bothered some people there, particularly when it involved faith and God, but I understood it. To some, even God is NOT a truth. There is no such thing as THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH when it comes to people. I mean, people are fighting science, too, now.  No such thing as climate change, hm? What doesn't hurt you may hurt someone else. What hurts you doesn't hurt everyone. What you consider funny may be offensive. What you think is annoying is rad to some. Right?

I CANNOT change others' perceptions or their truths, so I remain fiercely loyal to who I am and those I care about. I stink at poker face. I am horrible at pretending to be something I'm not. Besides, I'm having more fun letting things roll as they come--the good, the bad and the cray.

Why does the 5% seem to hurt so much? Because I still care. Because my ego isn't my ruler.

When I was younger, I used to get so upset when people would say hurtful things because I was frustrated that those accusers didn't even know the REAL ME. Something inside wanted to prove to the world that I wasn't those things. Little did I know then that doing so is the same thing as controlling the way people think.

Now, those wounds, while still hurtful, are so superficial and heal so quickly now. I attribute that to the fact that I'm no longer 20, but also to the fact that after you experience hurt a few times you start to wise up and start to figure people out quickly. Some just want to use that vulnerability to their advantage. Some things they may get out of it:
  • some sort of self-empowerment by squashing others around. if everyone is lower than you, then you must be better, right? (gross)
  • their way 
  • manipulating or wielding power over others' decisions or perceptions of things (toxic)
I've seen many "successes" in a wide array of fields keep to themselves to the point of being cold and calculated. I used to be so envious of that. I didn't understand why my extroverted personality had to be bigger than life, leaving a giant beating heart open for all to take a stab at. But no matter how much I tried to change myself in the past, my true self always came back.

People say the darnedest things, but I'd rather stay vulnerable. 

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