Last week my boss sent a message to everyone who teaches in her studio asking us to pick ONE word to describe ourselves. She told us to think it over and then respond with our word. There was no additional information included in her message.
. . . Umm . . .
(Insert MEGA pause)
At first I was hoping I could be exempt from this project, whatever it was. How could I possibly pick just one word that described me? I'm way too complicated for one word, I need a dictionary, at least. I started to think of a few but nothing seemed to encompass all that I am.
Awkward. Smiley. Shy. Introverted. Deep. Silly. Drunk (kidding). Sarcastic.
I was sitting on the couch with my husband and eventually filled him in and asked him to pick one word to describe me. He rolled his eyes and said, "Beautiful (without hesitation, yep he's a good one!)... One word? That's impossible, you're too complex." And then he rattled off about twenty descriptive words.
Thanks for the help. I kept thinking.
Do you ever wonder what other people think about you? I do and I would bet you probably do too. I meet someone new and wonder what their first impression is. A new face shows up to one of my yoga classes, what was their feeling? People I interact with regularly but maybe not on a personal level, what do they think? Co-workers, fellow gym rats, the UPS guy, you get the idea, but what do they all think?
I should probably clarify. I don't spend that much time thinking about what others think but it is definitely something that crosses my mind. I believe we all do this to some existent. I believe we all want to be well received. I believe we all seek approval. I believe it's all part of the human need to find acceptance. It's not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion. It can get a little bit more dicey if we really let other's opinions (especially negative ones) get to us. To me just wondering about it is different.
After a while, I finally settled on my word and sent it over to my boss.
I was happy with my word and thought that it captured the most aspects of me in just one word, no easy task. This whole exercise really got my wheels turning. It took me a considerable amount of time to arrive on my word and I know myself better than anyone. What would happen if I asked the people closest to me the same question? Would I hear similar words? Would I hear my word? Would I be surprised, shocked, maybe even hurt? Did my perception of myself emulate what others thought of me? I wondered if anyone would actually play along and then I decided to just go for it.
My text went something like this, "I'm doing an experiment. Pick ONE word to describe me."
And here are the results from some of my wolf pack: (* means word appeared more than once)
Intuitive. Passionate. Free. Special. Determined. Genuine*. Loyal. Strong. Transforming. Spitfire. Bonafide.
Boom! My peeps love me! I'm not going to lie, it felt pretty good to get texts back with these words. Granted, I did only reach out to people that I feel a real close connection with, friends- new and old, my parents, my brother, his wife. They could have been way more harsh but I appreciate what they said and what other words were included in their messages.
It has been a curious experiment, a good one for self study and reflection. I don't want to just have some fantasy land mental image of myself if it doesn't come across to others in real life. I want to be the best version of myself. I want others to be more positively than negatively impacted by interactions with me. Sometimes a little bit of time spent examining ourselves; the good, the bad, the ugly, as scary as that may seem, is exactly the thing we need to make sure we're on the right track. It's helpful to confirm that what we think we're putting out there is really and truly what we're putting out there. And guess what? If it isn't, no big deal, just learn the lesson and change it up.
I want to be genuine and I want others to believe that about me too.