It was a hard thing to hear, especially from someone who knows me so well. It's easy for people who aren't close to you to miss the mark in their perception of you. But those who know you best? It's often a truth serum, I'm afraid.
And I didn't want to drink it.
"I think you can be hard to get to know. I don't think you mean to, but I think sometimes you give off the vibe that you don't want connection." My husband said to me during one of those car rides when you're jumping from topic to random topic and wondering how you landed there.
Eeeww. And ouch. Who, me?
But here's the stinger. There was no one else in the car or the coversation, and I knew deep down he was right.
A few days ago, a friend and I talked about this concept of mirroring human behavior. It's this subconscious thing we tend to do in social situations where we mimic the person with which we are interacting. If you yawn, chances are I will yawn. If you're vulnerable, I am more apt not to feel as guarded. If you are displaying body language that is turned 180 degrees from the direction I am facing and talking to me over your shoulder, I am likely going to interpret that as you are moving away from me and the conversation, and I will probably be very brief and to the point. You get my drift.
Here's the other truth serum that's sad. It's the one I can admit in this space, from behind the safety of my keyboard where I can edit and still have the option of deleting.
If the vibe I'm giving off is that I don't want or need connection, there isn't anything that could be further from the truth. It's just that somewhere buried in the cellar of my heart is this fear that a person may not want a connection with me. That maybe I'm an interruption or a delay from something or someone more important. That perhaps what I have to say won't be valuable or interesting or witty enough or whatever. Ugh.
I want to know your story and what you plan to eat for lunch and what your favorite childhood memory was and what hurt you the most. And I want to tell you mine.
But even more than that, I want not to mirror anyone. I want to set the temperature when I walk into a room and a conversation, and not so readily adjust myself accordingly. I don't mean in the sense of throwing wisdom to the wind and ignoring non-verbal cues or being pushy. I mean, in the sense of being authentic to who I want to be in this world.
To be vulnerable even when it's risky and uncomfortable and might be misinterpreted (always a risk my friend). To be calm and collected and not anxious or fearful of whether or not I am accepted. To not allow others to rent space in my head. Meaning that I don't give too much thought to their perception of me (highlight that one and add a thousand exclamation marks).
What will people see when they look into the mirror of you? What might you be unintentionally communicating? Let's lean in and listen, even when it's hard. It will be worth it, I promise.