Saturday, June 25, 2011


     It can be a crush to my ego to hear through the grapevine what other people, people who don't know me, think about me, to get the bird's eye view of the way I am perceived from a distance. I always find it startling. The external perception is so different from the way I know myself to be. I have been told that I am intimidating. I have been told that I look angry and mean when from the inside I feel myself to be pleasantly observing my surroundings. The other day, as I was walking, a stranger said in rather a scolding manner that I should smile because I was outside, as if, what was wrong with me that I looked so cross on such a beautiful summer day? She startled me. I felt like I was smiling, at least, I was smiling on the inside.
     I am perceived as tough and masculine. Someone once described me as, you know, the one who looked like she would beat you up. When this got back to me I was horrified. Really? Me? I believe the people who know me and live with me and work with me closely would be as hard-pressed as I am to understand these outside opininons. I believe we all feel I am rather a burst of light, a sunshine girl, extremely sensitive, but unquestionably strong, and definitely loving. So I guess that counts for something.
     But what am I supposed to do with these external perceptions? I could try to change, and I have done that in the past, but it feels inauthentic. I can turn my sunshine directly on the people who have expressed fear in regards to me, and they seem to dissolve their position once in closer contact with me. But I can't even begin to know all of the people who have opininons about me, and I certainly can't manage the way everyone thinks. I work in an environment where it's almost as if I am on stage. I am boot camp inspirational. I encourage and push and exercise fiercely if I need to do that to motivate my clients. But my clients don't think I'm mean, even though it's them that I am pushing. I believe they know I have nothing but love for them. They feel my love and that's why they keep coming back.
     It bothers me that people think I'm tough and misperceive me, but it seems riduculous to resist it. I cannot change the way I am fundamentally. Perhaps it's best to quietly carry the knowledge that if they knew me better they would perceive me differently and just be ok with that. But it's a good reminder for me to consider the way I form opinions about others from a distance. I'm sure I have volumes of my own misperceptions as well. So, today, I'm going to take the lesson and give everyone a break. I'm going to figure that we all have a soft under-belly, and none of us is as rugged or tough as we seem.

I trust that we all have more depth and sensitivity to us than is immediately apparent from the outside. I keep an open mind and am willing to give everyone the initial benefit of the doubt.