(image courtesy of http://www.bagelbean.co.uk)
What a great quote that is, Oscar.
I’ve been musing on this a lot over the past couple of weeks. I was given a journal just yesterday with an instruction on the front to “be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.” What a bloody marvellous image that is.
It’s not as easy as we’d like it to be sometimes though, is it?
I thought I’d reached the stage of not really caring so much what others thought of me, but a difficult relationship with my supervisor at work the past few years has really taken its toll and opened some old wounds. I have felt profoundly isolated and unwelcome. I won’t bore you with the details here but it has been a hard few years where I have lost my confidence, passion and direction in my work. I have questioned myself an awful lot.
Somebody suggested a “positive quality survey” whereby I had to ask 8 people who knew me well to list 3 positive qualities of mine. I could not think of anything more awful but I forced myself to do it. The responses were a real eye-opener for me.
Sometimes we can spend so long speaking unkindly to ourselves that whenever somebody else’s bad behaviour appears to confirm those fears, we seal that belief as fact. I am unwanted. I am not lovable. I am not good enough. Whatever your belief may be. It’s confirmation bias, I suppose. This exercise was a huge help in countering that.
My friends used some lovely words and what was more interesting is that they all overlapped in what they perceived to be my positive traits. Can the 8 people who know me best all be wrong? Maybe not. Maybe – eureka moment! – I’m not actually as shit as I thought.
I have found myself crippled at times with the fear of being myself or saying the wrong thing as I’ve started my new job. I’m having to remind myself that the former bad job aside, I have never encountered any difficulties working with other people and have always got on well with any team I’ve worked in. Perhaps that should suggest I’m not the fundamental problem. I tell you what is though – not being myself. I allowed my anxiety about that relationship to cripple my ability to relax and have a laugh with people and be who I fundamentally am.
Authenticity is something we all seek in relationships, yes? I know I do. I don’t know why I thought my colleagues would want anything else. I am me. I am the only me in existence, whether I’m someone else’s cup of tea or not.
So with that in mind, when I go into work on Monday it’ll be with a new mindset.
I’m going to be a fucking flamingo.