Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Personality Dichotomy

Sometimes, people tell you something about yourself that really makes you take a step back and think hard about who you are and what vibe you emanate to others.  One of those moments occurred last week, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Last week, someone I work with confessed to me that she was really upset that I didn't talk to her more and make more of an effort to be friends with her.  This person wants me to plop down in the chair in her office and just gab with her for awhile, and wants me to allow her to help me more.  I was shocked because I always thought this woman hated my guts.  Like, seriously couldn't stand me.  I guess I was wrong.

This person also implied that I'm an introvert and don't talk enough to the people outside of my immediate work group.  Whaaaa?  Me, an introvert?  It's funny how people can perceive your personality.  While I'll never be a huge, over-the-top personality, I wouldn't classify myself as an introvert at all!  I draw my energy from spending time with others, and being alone with my own thoughts was never my cup of tea.  I LOVE being around other people, chatting and working in teams.  Public speaking?  Meh, not so much.  But hangin' with friends, both old and new, makes me a happy girl.

All of this has really made me think about who I am as a person, and consider what side of myself I'm presenting to the people in my life.  I'll admit that I am not always the same Kari at work as I am outside of work.  Most of  my coworkers have seen little glimmers of me, but they haven't gotten the whole package.  My former boss and immediate coworkers know the real me, but everyone else gets my game face--quiet, agreeable, calm-cool-collected Kari.  They see me as someone who never loses her cool, who has always got it together.  How wrong they are!  Apparently I've been really successful in keeping my lively, silly, and emotional sides to myself.  I do NOT see myself as someone who has it all together... nuh-uh.

Part of me just doesn't trust my coworkers enough to be my full-strength self all the time, since showing them my true self makes me feel somewhat vulnerable.  If someone's going to dislike me, I'd rather it be for my faux personality than my real personality.  It's a preemptive defense mechanism, if you will.  I've been keeping up appearances for 6 years now... 6 years!  That's a long time to project a persona that isn't truly "you".

I always wonder what would happen if I acted like the real Kari in front of those people.  When I've given people some of it here and there, they act shocked.  Like, they cannot believe what just came out of my mouth.  The truth of the matter is that I get emotional.  I get VERY excited and I talk WAY too much/too fast/too loud.  I have opinions, and they may not always go along with what everyone else is saying.  I've censored myself, to some degree, to not cause any dischord or rifts at a job that means SO much to me.  And you know what?  I realized that I've probably done myself a disservice.  After all, how can you live an authentic life when you're not giving people all of yourself? 

My goal is to trust people a little more, and give people the real Kari.  They may never see me at my most boistrous or goofy, but I will start letting them see the passionate, humorous parts of me that are usually the most entertaining.  And I'll put myself out there with my co-workers in a way that allows me to become closer to them.  I have to start somewhere, so here goes nothing! 

Onward and upward!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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