I’ve been musing lately about communication. So much of it is done in a non-verbal or indirect way. As someone with a very literal, logical and direct way of thinking, I often miss the subtext of what people are saying unless I really focus on figuring out the meanings behind things.
I was talking to my brother about this recently. How he misses the same things I do and will have friends ask him why he let someone talk to him a certain way, how such and such comment was so rude, but he didn’t even notice because he takes things at face value.
I relate to his experiences quite well, though I think he has the advantage of being a man. When he misses the more subtle social cues, he’s just being a guy. When women miss those same cues, they are judged more harshly.
It can be quite frustrating, especially for those of us who have a more direct, logical and abrupt way of being. There are many of my female friends who handle it well. They’re just confident and spunky and down right awesome gals. They’re blunt and honest and while they struggle from time to time, they are confident in who they are.
I can’t say I’m one of them. I do my best, but I’m the anxious sort. I’m determined to be less so, but you know what they say about Zebras and their stripes. That paint just doesn’t stay on when it rains.
Luckily, I’m also the optimistic, independent sort. So I get past my anxieties with some work.
And it is when I get to this point that I stop and look around and wonder why people can’t just be direct and honest. What are we hiding behind? Do we really thing this mysterious game of “you should know what I mean and feel” is doing anyone any good?
No one gets what they want when they bottle things up and hide from themselves and others. Bruises and battle scars are hard earned. There’s no shame in being flawed and human. Be yourself, be honest with others and allow them to be honest.
One of the most admirable things I had a friend tell me was, “I just assume people like me.” I was just floored. How could she possibly think that? And I realized, it was also that she didn’t care if they didn’t. She assumed the best and didn’t worry about the rest. It gave me something to aspire to, to work towards.
So instead of painting over my stripes, I need to remember to flaunt them instead. I’m not a plain old horse. I’m a zebra. I’m meant to stand out.
There are so many beautiful people in this world who value clarity, directness and the beauty of encouraging, believing in, and lifting one another up. They are are my constellations. They glow in the darkness, guiding me on this journey. Though I don’t always see or think about them, all I have to do is look for them and they’re there.
Thank you, to all of you who are my guiding lights. Stay amazing, beautiful and confident. You are loved.