When Less is More, and Perception is Reality

In a society where superficiality is everywhere, I have always prided myself for being true, genuine and sincere. However, over the recent months, I am now questioning my need to say and express everything I feel and think. Is it really me being honest, or just me being self centered and not putting myself in the shoes of others? Am I choosing not to filter for my own self gratification?

I have always been someone who speaks her mind. I have no qualms saying exactly what I think and what I feel whenever I think/feel it. Growing up, this made it difficult for me to make friends, however I have been fortunate to have a bunch of close girlfriends who stuck with me long enough to see the virtue of this trait and not penalise me for it. Over the years, we have fostered strong friendships, and along with knowing each other for half our lives, they have also become the mirrors I cannot hide from. With the many setbacks that have hit me this year, these amazing friends of mine decided it was time for an intervention. It was time for them to speak up and help me be better, so I do not sink further and get lost in this vicious cycle that I seemed to have spiraled into.

At the office, I have learnt to bite my tongue and not always express everything that I feel or think. When I first started working, I did not differentiate who I was at the office with who I was outside with my friends and family. I behaved as I would without any care for how I might come across and how I would be perceived professionally. This had a negative impact on my career as my peers and  seniors failed to take me seriously. When you are unable to watch what you say and how you say it, you come across as very inexperienced and junior. Your body language and they way you carry yourself at the work place affects the impression people form of you. You may be excellent at your job, but sometimes the impression prevents people from seeing past that and your performance is undermined. Someone once told me “Perception is reality” and he is right. I will say I am still new at this, but I am trying to be mindful of how I carry myself at the work place. As they say, “Empty vessels make the most noise” – I want to be taken seriously and respected for my quality of work and my professionalism. There is no need to have my opinion heard on everything or my entire life story to be known in the office. There is also no need for my personal emotions to be displayed in the office. We should always separate our personal emotions from the work place. This may be tough especially for women who tend to be more emotional, however if you are able to achieve this, you will find yourself better at handling your personal issues and also be more efficient and productive at work.

On the personal front, this is actually where I struggle the most. At work, I am able to adopt a different persona and she is cool headed, reasonable and logical. She is also zen and thinks before she acts/speaks. Outside of work however, I find myself a mess. I get extremely emotional and I often experience verbal diarrhoea which often involves me engaging in a monologue thinking my thoughts and feelings aloud. I am impatient by nature and this has been accelerated as a by product of my job. The incessant need to resolve things and talk about things then and there  has been something I never thought of as being selfish and indulgent. I always thought it was good to trash things out in the open, to communicate and to be honest. However I realise now, that different people have different ways of handling things and not everyone is confrontational. Some people also need time to digest and recover before dealing with a particular situation. My sub-conscious assumption that everyone deals with things the same way I do has been extremely self indulgent and obnoxious. My need to have everything said and settled immediately is actually for my benefit and not really caring about others’ interests or feelings. They say sometimes “Less in More” – I fully agree with this statement and I am learning to hold back. This is not to say that one becomes less sincere or genuine, it just means to catch yourself before saying or doing anything.

I believe we should all continuously see self improvement. At 30, this is a goal I set for myself, an aspect I hope to improve on. It’s never to late to learn to become a better version of yourself.

To my friends who never gave up on me. S and G, thanks for yelling at me and being my mirrors. I love you gals.

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