I am not OK. I am NOT OK. But no one gives a $hit about that.
OK, so, that might be a tiny *bit* of an exaggeration BUT, it got your attention right? Good. I’ll come back to that later. For now, keep reading.
I have always thought that I’m pretty good at holding things together. But I’m beginning to think I’m a little too good at it. So that I seem ok when I’m not. So people don’t ask because they think, well they assume you’re ok. And when people do ask, I go terribly british and will be like “I’m OK / I’m fine / Don’t you worry about me, how are YOU doing?” and that’s it. People take what I have said at face value. Which is fair enough. I mean they’re not freaking mind readers are they. But then I get (more) upset and think they don’t care and don’t like me and I’m going to be an old cat spinster lady until the end of time……….
Sadly, I am beginning to realise that the problem is with me (this self-development lark is challenging as you realise a lot of the time you yourself are the source of issues rather than other people, dammit). I mean, what is wrong with being a cat lady? I love cats? Oh no wait, that was not the point of the story. What I do is I assume. I make assumptions that people will know when I’m not ok. That they will double or triple check if I say I’m ok to begin with at which point I can say something (which they don’t) rather than trusting what I say at face value and thinking I’m ok (which they do). But guess what. As I have said, they are not mind readers and trust me to be honest with them and so go with what I say. (and by them I mean friends rather than the random dude from the coffee shop who says hi how are you and has left before you’ve even tried to answer who is just being polite and is definitely not interested in how you are actually doing). So unless I say something they do not know something. But what about emotional intelligence (EQ) type stuff – surely people pick up on the other cues to realise hunky dory I hear you say. Ok maybe you didn’t say hunky dory but I feel like I have said OK a LOT already. Just go with it. Great, thanks. Let’s continue.
Well the problem is that people generally have too much of their own shit going on to notice yours. Even your friends. And when you lie to them, you aren’t really helping the situation.
It’s a bit like when you go to the gym and worry about the fit / pumped people looking at you and judging you while you work out? Well, they don’t. I promise they are too busy looking at themselves to notice you. What this means is that unless you tell people something is wrong, or they are really looking to see if something is wrong (like when you pay a personal trainer to train you / correct your form etc), people generally won’t see it. Particularly if you are halfway decent at holding your sh!t together.
So, back to me. I said that I have realised that the issue is with me, and it is. It really is. I assume a lot of things. We all do. Probably hundreds a day. Some of those assumptions will be trivial, some rather more important. I have been assuming people know what I’m thinking or that they will do what I think I would do in a situation. But they are not me.
As the phrase goes, “to assume is to make an ass of u and me” – and it’s really true.
I have been doing a lot of ‘self education’. Some might call it “self help”, but I think that term can have some negative connotations (you may well make assumptions about what it means and what it does, am I right??) and so to me I am ‘self educating’ on things that may be able to help me from a mind and soul perspective. One of the things I’ve been learning more about is the concept of coaching – both to help me in my day to day role as supporter of my students and also to help me with the changes I’m making in my life. In one of the books I’ve read, there was a really interesting example about how easy it is to have one thought which just kind of runs away with itself. Rather than actually knowing something, we make up stories to fill in the gaps in what actually happened. And then we’re making up stories to fill in the gaps in between the stories in between what actually happened. It’s the same as the phrase ‘jumping to conclusions’. Which generally doesn’t end well. For example…
I don’t say to anyone that I want a pony for christmas*. They ask me what I want and I just kinda shrug and say nothing thanks, I don’t want anything, don’t worry about me. A few days later they comment on my silver earrings and I say thanks, I love earrings. Don’t you just love sparkly stuff too? Then I go back to dreaming about the beautiful pony I want for christmas (I used to love the Black Beauty tv show, I think I actually still know the tune of the theme song! haha). So they then go away and spend some time trying to find me a nice, thoughtful gift and get me some a beautiful diamond earrings. Come christmas day, I get given beautiful diamond earrings but get in a strop because earrings are not the same as a pony and then get upset that they actually hate me and don’t understand me and don’t listen to anything I say.
RIDICULOUS HUH??? I mean, I wouldn’t get in a strop about the diamond earrings obvs. Oh no, sorry that wasn’t the point. The point is that this whole scenario has predominantly been played out in my head. I hadn’t said anything about a pony, SO HOW COULD THEY KNOW????????????? Exactly. They can’t.
I hold people to an unfair standard. I hold them to rules that I *try* to follow myself. The template I follow. I compare them to me. But they are not me. And I’ll say it again, as much for my benefit as for yours, they are not mind readers, so stop assuming people know what you are thinking Davinia. They don’t. (OK, definitely more for me)
People know stuff only if you tell them stuff. They will know what you tell them. So tell them if you want them to know, don’t tell them if you don’t want them to know. But if you don’t tell them and you want them to know – you’re being an idiot. And making things a lot more difficult in the long run. So going forward, I am trying to identify the assumptions I make AND to try not to make them. And it is hard. But that’s the fun of self development, right??
Oooooh, do you remember that attention grabbing first line? Well, that is the point. It got your attention, but you probably made all sorts of assumptions as to what / why / how and maybe even what I should do about it. Hell, maybe you even tried to guess what I was going to talk about! It’s easy to do. And in case you are wondering, on the whole I’m good. Like anyone I am sometimes not ok, and I’m trying to be better and telling people when I’m not.
*for the record, I do not want a pony for christmas. A tall, dark, charming, salsa dancing husband, meh, or even boyfriend, would do for now instead thanks. Plus I have no where to put a pony right now.
Photo Credit: Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash