Encouragement and Flaws

      There are countless ways to express yourself:  one on one conversation, e-mail, clothing, music, and art to name a few.  It’s funny how you perceive yourself and it’s funny how others see you, sometimes, in a completely different way.  Often there is one particular way that shows who you really are and what you really believe.  Sometimes you’re misunderstood.  Most times, there is no malicious intent in the expression.

      I’ve found that others perceptions can be different than my own and their thoughts are usually kinder and gentler.   Why are we so hard on ourselves?  Maybe we’re just trying to improve our character, subconsciously or maybe even intentionally.  It might be that telling yourself how ‘good’ you are is antithetical to an innate desire to be more humble. 

      Over the years I have done activities where a group of friends share encouraging words about each other.  It’s been done anonymously (on paper passed around the room) and also done verbally in front of the group.  It’s a fantastically uplifting activity that shows you good things about yourself.  Personally, sometimes what I consider a flaw of mine, others admire.  Odd how that happens.  This week two of my friends told me that they admire my “tell it like it is” style.  One friend mentioned how I even talk about things she only thinks of because they are too embarrassing to say out loud.  Being opinionated isn’t something I thought to be admirable (in fact I struggle with it personally) but I suppose there are degrees of good in many things perceived otherwise.

      Unfortunately, people can also misunderstand intentions.  I think for me, it is frustrating that on occasion people have assumed the worst about me when emailing.  At the same time, one friend mentioned that I am like a “man”.   That I just get to the point.  He is a man and so he was complementing me on my directness.  He even went as far to say that girls fill their emails with peacemaking adjectives and extra words to communicate gently.   With out tone of voice on email though, it is hard for me to communicate gently.  I find myself, presently, adding things like LOL or smiley faces J so that people can ‘hear’ my voice through the email.  I even had a period of time where I’d have Brett proof my emails so he could “de-aggressivefy” me.  I’m done with the proofing now.  I just pray, that when I send an email, people know my heart—my character—and that I don’t set out to be aggressive. 

       Thankfully, I haven’t had a bad emailing experience in some time now.  Spiritual growth over the years has probably helped with word choice.  I can’t say I’ve become less opinionated and I still like to talk about things that may make others blush.  But it’s all part of my charm.  It’s me.  Working on be a better me is probably something to attempt indefinitely.  So, I’m glad for the encouraging words given this week but I’m still trying to tone it down a bit though… my husband reminded me this morning how there is a fine line between truth and grace and we need to offer both.

       Sorry this was so long… and I will be posting “To Believe or Not to Believe (in Santa)” soon!


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