So when I took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment a few years back, one of my top 5 strengths was Positivity…which is, of course, a no-brainer for those who know me and/or even loosely follow my posts.
And I LOVE this strength–it is the essence of my enthusiasm, my authentic ability to see the good in all people and circumstances, my sense of humor and my ability to buoy the spirits of those around me…
What’s hard about it, though, is that I also wear my heart on my sleeve, and I can feel like a big, shiny target for (what I experience as) bubble-bursting cynics. And as much as it seems like “you can’t bring this girl down,” believe me, you can. And for what good reason?
My positivity can look like naivete to folks who don’t see life through the same lens, and I get that people might be trying to save me from disappointment or from some harsh future reality through “bringing me down to earth” or inserting what they think is reality into my experience, and yet, my reality has never colored the world as harsh and I like the life I’m creating. Life only ever feels harsh when I meet people who try to convince me that I’m going to soon discover that life is harsh. And as much as they might think that they’re sparing me from some nameless bad thing in my future…It just hurts me in the here and now…and then I have to do mental and emotional backtracking to get back to what’s true FOR ME.
One of the things it says in the StrengthsFinder assessment for people who have this strength is to choose not to hang around negative or cynical people because they drain me and bring me down…which is true. And I wish it were so simple to just “not hang around them,” and the reality of life, and especially of my life in meeting all new people, right now, is that I can’t avoid them all. I just wish it didn’t make me feel hurt and icky and less somehow when I encounter people trying to give me a “dose of reality.” In all of my capacity to rise above, to not take on other people’s stuff…I’ve not mastered this one. I’m so mutable and good at trying on other’s perspectives that I can lose my sense of what feels good for me in these kinds of interactions.
And I know those people will keep coming…especially as I’ve moved to a big city where people are trying to make dreams happen, and so many people seem to have a say on the right and wrong way to do that…and all I’m left with, right now is perhaps strengthening my ability to say, “Thanks for your perspective and my experience of life has been different…and I like my view.”
I may have just arrived in NYC 2 weeks ago, but I’ve been alive for 32 years and I haven’t lived in a vacuum. So far my life experience has said that no matter where I am, I get back 10-fold what I give…and what I want exists. And that’s the world I continue to choose–whether I’m in NYC, or Bangkok, or Monona, WI.
Sorry if this seems a little ranty–just feeling a little tender and drained tonight. I welcome your perspective, dear hearts.
(And, I also invite you to notice in your own life when you might burst someone’s bubble for the sake of being right…and assess: Is it really worth it?) xo
©2014 Melissa Simonson