Yesterday I was told I had changed. I was told this by someone I am very close too. Someone I trust. The moment the words came out of his mouth I tensed.
My thoughts went to, uh oh, what does he mean? What have I done! The assumption in my head was that it was going to be bad. However, I had apparently changed was going to be bad thing. I was trying to play it calm, but I could feel my cheeks start to burn and my heart was racing. I responded with a usual cantankerous comment, “oh so I’m even more amazing now”. Looks really can be deceiving.
Him: “You have become more opinionated. You are sure of yourself”.
My narrative in my head started to go into overdrive- He means arrogant, bossy or overly confident.
On the outside I said in a slightly higher pitched but trying to be cool- “I will have to work on that, , I didn’t mean to come across that way, gosh I don’t want people to think.
But he cut me off, looking stunned. “What?! I meant it as a compliment. I meant you have grown. You speak with more certainty about the things you believe in. You show up. You own your opinions. You share them. You no longer hide or hedge your bets. You own who you are”
Then it was my turn to look stunned.
This experience tells me about the narratives I have internalised about who I think I should be, how I think women are allowed to show up, what I think of the idea of being opinionated AND how easy it is for me to assume the worst.
It showed me how quickly we can jump to assume we know what others mean based on our fears and beliefs. It reminded me that we always need to check, to see what the other person truly means. Otherwise we might walk away with the exact opposite information than was intended.
Does this resonate with you?