One of my friends in the gym (let’s call her Reena) asked me a serious question. When she got to know I was a performance coach, she came running, feeling angst and conflicted and saddened by a situation. She asked me to make her more “approachable as a personality.”
I was surprised by this and said, why does she think she isn’t approachable? I found her to be pretty straighforward. She said, not that she truly cared about what people thought about her… but it did matter to her that the others shouldn’t feel intimidated. Reena felt that a lot of people found her either daunting or even irritating. She looked quite approachable to me and personally, I felt we were quite alike (and I know I’m pretty approachable, so to say).
I’ve known her for a while and I see Reena as a strong and motivated individual. She is intelligent, courageous and driven to get results. She has been brutally honest, always consciously looked at the bright side of things, she had firm respect for herself, personal ethics and courtesies, just as I did. She gave the benefit of doubt wherever necessary and chose to not get involved in the “drama” or conflict too much, unless, she could turn it into something positively creative (more on that later). She loved to stick around with people who emitted a positive vibe and sort of detached herself from those who didn’t. She was quite introspective and loved to grow. She was always direct and to the point (personally, the kind of people I like as part of my tribe). When she approached me with her concern thinking that something was perhaps wrong with her… because people might be getting intimidated… I looked her in the eye and I said, really, is that what you think…? Does it really matter what the
others think of you? Maybe in some situations and maybe not.
Reena and I had a long chat and I shared my personal story with her. I said, I am quite headstrong but I am also very open minded. I may appear different to different kinds of people… but that’s with everyone. For instance, I never take s**t from anyone and rebutt if I have to. And in many cases, I am the most gentle and caring. So, are those my true personalities? YES!!! But it is all about who floats my boat and unde what situation. What I mean is: I am quite headstrong when it comes to my personal ethics, discipline, and values… so, I wouldn’t let anyone interfere in that. But I am also open minded if someone else has a different method or opinion of things. I don’t budge easily in many situations but I will always be open to ideas. Reena has been quite the same too.
As I understood the situation… that being a headstrong personality, Reena and I don’t budge easily in many situations, which can sometimes be intimidating to others. But at the same time, we are empathetic to other human beings and introspective about their needs. When she felt she was perhaps doing something wrong, I knew I had to help her. So, I had the following strategies for her, right from my personal experience kitty.
- Give a damn about the NAYSAYERS: Now, most of the time, only naysayers (who are a large majority of pessimists and complainers) find faults in you and keep complaining. They are the first ones who judge, first ones to not acknowledge your opinion, first ones to force you to do something you may not want to do (for instance, eat unhealthily, or grab that drink or smoke or not workout etc.) So, when a headstrong meets the naysayer… the naysayer finds the headstrong very irritating. The naysayer would perceive people like Reena to be close-minded, even though the truth is far from that. Largely, those who are truly headstrong about ambitions and goals will genuinely try to be nice and would have less time for drama. And this might be perceived as arrogance. If someone perceives them otherwise, it is actually a reflection of the perceiver’s closed minded attitude and not the other way around. So, it is best to EMPATHETICALLY shun the naysayers, right?
- Realize, you and I would be perceived irritating no matter what!: Yeah! You read it right. No matter what… YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. And it is a losing battle to even try. You would’ve encountered many friends and acquaintances who’d try to tell you to do things they think are cool, so perhaps ask you to smoke or grab that drink you don’t want or have that unhealthy meal, even when you don’t feel like it. They’d go to their extremes to be persistent or say you’re a spoilsport etc. They may even try to make themselves feel good by making you feel miserable about yourself. Yes!!! That’s true. But do you really want to be controlled by such folks? Isn’t it up to us to strengthen our emotions and genuinely yet nicely, decline the silly offer. Of course, people may find us irritating especially in such situations, because these are the kind of folks who don’t even know much about themselves. In these situations, I have a straight philosophy in life, people will find you and ME irritating, regardless of how or what we are. I follow a personal mantra of saying nicely NO to things that do not align to my core. Yet, I am absolutely open to others doing whatever the hell that they want.
- Listen to everyone but count on your best judgment: The best mantra in this situation is to listen to everyone, genuinely and truly communicate what you perceive is the best in the given situation. We may do something sometimes to please other people, but it would only leave us feeling sickened in our core. Also, most of the times, when someone isn’t comfortable with their own selves, do they then try to change others. Half the times, it also isn’t what is said, it is about how things are communicated to us. Often for many driven people like me and Reena, we value open communications that are intuitively genuine and honest. When things are communicated in the right way, not only do people listen and react well, but also I will listen and I will let you be you, but I wouldn’t allow another person to try to overrule things that I value for myself. So, if you find people with my way or the highway kind of talk. You know what you need to do… you’re way better already.
I really would want to hear it from you. How do you deal with people who try to impose their opinions on you? What strategies do you use to not get affected by other’s while genuinely being your truest self? Put it down in the comments below.
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