Sometimes, we question ourselves and even try to change ourselves based on someone else’s issues. I acknowledged on this blog that sometimes the issue is looking back at us in the mirror, but today, I’m not talking about that. Today, I want to address how to respond to others who are trying to define who you are because they have issues.
I recently shared the image and words above on my social media. I have been told that I am both intimidating and unapproachable but not by many people. I remember the first time I was told I was intimidating, I was genuinely confused. At this particular job, I had colleagues who threatened people, sent nasty emails, yelled at people, and rolled up in person to start an argument, but I was the supposedly intimidating one. I went to meetings and did not speak unless I was addressed. I greeted people when I saw them in the building, so I was really confused. I went to a veteran colleague to ask why this person perceived me this way. The person said, “It’s not you; it’s her. She is intimated by your knowledge and the results you get in the classroom.” Granted this is only one other person’s perspective; however, it helped me shift the narrative to it her problem not my problem.
I had to make this same shift about a few people saying I was unapproachable, I can see a little bit why a few people have said this. I am highly introverted.
Don’t let the amount I write confuse you. In Indy, I occasionally run into people who don’t know me as an educator but instead know me as an education writer. A few said, “You’re not anything like I thought you would be in person.” Again, I not sure how I’m supposed to react when people direct quote me to my face…even I can’t direct quote myself. I wrote over 200 hundred pieces last year. Typically, I am already thinking about the next story before I finish the one I’m writing. I try to be sociable, but I hate small talk.
People who have worked with know that I keep to myself. I work at work. I know that seems like an odd statement, but I have found that too many educators spend more time socializing than getting work done. I tend to avoid anything at work that will cause me to be social and waste time. For example, if there is a pitch-in, I’m not eating it. I have other reasons for that; I am extremely picky about what I eat. Just ask the colleague who got an earful about what was wrong with the ice cream when she tried to give me an ice cream sandwich at the back to school event. I bring my lunch every day for a reason. If you want to know more about that hop on over to my other blog gardenershicole.com.
However, if you stop me and ask to talk to me, I will speak to you, and I will help you. You can’t tell someone they are unapproachable when you haven’t made the effort to approach them. I can’t accept that. I won’t accept.
These are labels others have tried to put on me. You might have labels that people have tried to put on you. You don’t have to accept it. Instead, put it back on the person, and keep it moving. Don’t feel like you have to keep changing yourself because of other people’s opinions. If you do, you’ll spend so much time trying to change that you’ll lose who you truly are in the process.
Tune back in later today for the next installment of my Coronavirus Chronicles – Spring Break Edition!