This has been quite a year for reflection. I don’t think I have spent so much time really thinking about myself in a productive manner except for in this year, which is sad because aren’t you supposed to have done all these things before you pick a degree for college? I still agree with my choice of degree—there are times I wish I had continued studying sciences to become a veterinarian, but really I am very happy to have a different focus for my life—and this isn’t a post that will be filled with regrets.
I was recently fed a good dose of humility through the discovery of some unsent references. “Why did I read references about me?” You may ask.” Isn’t that a breach of confidence or trust?” Another may inquire. If you must know, the envelopes were stashed away once I decided I was not going to apply for a job overseas through a ministry. I was cleaning out one of my boxes filled with files, and I found these mysterious and intriguing envelopes. I thought to myself, “Maybe I did something and wanted to surprise myself for later, and I apparently forgot that I even did that?” it’s been known to happen. Sometimes I’ll put money somewhere, forget about it, and am ecstatic when I find it months later. Anyway, so I read the references, and most of them were pretty nice and encouraging, yet honest and humbling in a constructive way. Then there was this one where my confidence from reading the nice and encouraging ones was taken, strung up, beat with a bat, let down and thrown into the river. Wow was this reference a doozy. I should have thrown the reference out before finishing it because by the time I had read the answer to the first question, I knew this was not going to be constructive…but really, who does the wise thing in these situations?
I like to think I can handle a lot anyway.
Apparently this manager did not like me. Okay, not everyone needs to love me and want to be my best friend. That is fine, but to think so poorly of me that the only positive thing that is said is “she’s friendly, I suppose” ??? Either I need to have a growing experience and change of character, or this person has some serious grace issues with people who a) do not have the same personality as she and/or b) is not perfect. Really, I think the issue here was personality differences and maybe a bad impression was made by insensitivity somewhere either on my end or on hers. This is unfortunate because while I was not super fond of this particular manager, I do not remember having ill will toward her, nor did I have any chance to improve in the areas where she was disappointed with me. I like to be challenged and grow, so this would have been beneficial. Then again, if she actually did find me awkward then she might not have known how to approach me.
The reason I am even sharing this with the cyber world is not because of a need to vent to a veiled audience. One of my friends asked me what having confidence looks like. Lately I have had quite a few conversations about confidence and a huge part of my reflection time this year has dwelled on what I have learned while working at PC for 4 years and becoming a barn manager in the last 3.
Some people think that a person who always needs to be in the limelight is probably insecure. Okay. Maybe. There have been times I have been verbal just to avoid thinking or allowing people to see that there was an actual war going on in my mind. Other times I am verbal just because I genuinely want to talk with someone. I am a terrible person to talk to on the phone, but Katie, Monica, and I are as close as ever in spite of the fact that I live 500 miles away from them. Same goes for Whitney, and I have never counted up the mileage between East Texas and Northern California. Katie calls me almost everyday at 5, and if I cannot talk I call her back later that evening. Monica and I sometimes go weeks without speaking (really we can blame it on phone tag and living outside of the city on both our parts), but there are times when we talk for hours about our lives. Sometimes Monica calls at 5 just to spite Katie. 😉
Some people think that a person who does not talk often must be shy. Yeah, meet Annie, my coworker. She is not shy. She just doesn’t need to say much in order to be awesome. Seriously though, she is not shy. If you ask her a question, she’ll reply with something well thought out, sometimes profound, usually wise, and always with an open heart. Quietness can be insecurity, but people cannot just assume that is the case. We condemn people by assuming they are shy or insecure so we have to baby or stay away from them.
Really, we condemn people when we are not sensitive to others being different. This world is so diverse, and it would be a shame if we were all conformed into one type of personality. You can be quiet and still praise the Lord more passionately than any outgoing person can. You can be typically loud and silly but serious the next moment. I constantly feel as if I am being criticized for thinking differently or gravitating toward different interests. Don’t go to Africa, Lauren. That’s crazy. Don’t you know what is happening there? Stories are not real, Lauren. Those people are not real. Okay, I know that, but they feel real, and you can still learn from a fictional story. Fictional stories can be great sources for psychology and human experiences.
Battling nay-sayers is tiring. I am getting off topic though. Now, back to confidence:
I have learned these things:
- Confidence to say something and stand firm in this opinion because it was formed from a solid foundation. I knew this before, but I think the confidence could be more correctly defined as “stubbornness.”
- Confidence in changing my mind. I can make a decision and decide it isn’t the best route and change it! No big! Not the end of the world. My poor wranglers experience this all too often.
- To tag onto the above, being okay with failure but not being comfortable enough to not grow.
- I don’t know everything, and that is okay. If I do not know how many MB go into GB (1,000 apparently. My techy friends told me this summer.), then I shall embrace the fact that I get to learn new things everyday.
- To be comfortable with myself. I am very different. Sometimes, depending on how it is done, people have been hurtful in their opinions of me (i.e. said reference from above). I have been called random and weird and looked at as if I was some lost puppy or nonsensical because of something I have just said. I do not need to be the expert in everything or the smartest person in the room in order to be confident, but it is hurtful when someone looks at you as if you just started wearing real undergarments as opposed to pull ups.
Some of these lessons are surprisingly brand new, some began back in the day of spandex shorts and steel-toed cowgirl boots, and some of these lessons have been learned and unlearned along the way.
Anyone else with thoughts, feel free to add! This is nowhere near a finished thought.
Here are a few pictures I drew for viewing. Forgive my lack of skills on paint:
Above: After reading first references… cloud nine from the encouragement.
Above: The results after reference of doom; notice how the TARDIS disappeared. You can view this two ways: negative: I felt like I had been separated or abandoned by The Doctor or positive: No one can ever destroy the TARDIS. Live on, TARDIS!
Above: Defiance. Lauren the Lion roars again!