My first instinct was to get defensive, then go on the offensive and start telling him where to go. I wanted to yell that he knows nothing, that he judges and makes calls based on his own personal views, wants and needs, and that hey, what makes me who I am is exactly perfectly what makes me who I am.
Instead, I had this thought running like mad through my mind - this person, who prides himself on being in touch with people, with being a 'deep' person, in touch with feelings, etc., this person doesn't have a clue where to start in relating to, at least, me. Does this translate to his relationships with other people? I wonder.
I decided to tell him off. Hey, I am confident in being myself and "what you see is what you get" with me, so why change in front of someone who falsely believes he knows anything about me? I let him have it. Then had a club soda, went home and went to bed. Slept like a rock!
The next day I talked to a couple of my people about what he said, along with a friend/fellow coach. They were shocked and totally verified that my perception of reality is accurate and his is based on knowing very little, and not asking any questions....straight up, he judged me based on a couple of stories from my past experiences (if this were an accurate way to judge people, imagine - some people would think I was a scared woman, afraid of my own shadow....others, a boring, anti-party, GPA-focused overachiever).
This got me thinking about two things: 1. no one asks questions anymore and 2. how do we get to know who's important to us?
Been out on a date lately? Holy smokes. I have been accused of being nosy because, after 30 minutes of no conversation, I ask a question about my date and he gets either insulted or answers exactly that question, then back to silence. It's a funny lost-art. Like this person I was talking with, I go out with a man who decides whether to go out with me again or not, based on what he sees and what I manage to say about myself without any prompting. Which isn't much because frankly, if he isn't curious, I have no interest in sharing any information. I have better things to do and better people to see. But the perception is still important. This person I talked to truly believes that I should hug more in order for my friends to find me open. I do hug. I hug friends. I don't hug relative strangers I've known peripherally for 8 days. That's me. If that makes me cold fish well, okay, that's fine. I think that's fair?
Who do I hug? People who are important to me. When I let this guy have it for his ridiculous and uninformed and rude presumptions, I said this: Those who are important to me are the only ones who may have opinions about me and my ability to love and to provide friendship. Those who are important to me have experienced the open nature that I have, the love that I have and yes, sometimes, the hugs.
Begs the questions...how do I figure out who's important to me? I have written this paragraph 9 times...but here's the basic conclusion for me - those who are important to me are those people who consider me important to them. It's a chicken-and-egg situation. My parents are important to me - they know me, I am important to them. My staff at work are important to me - I am important to them. My friends are important to me, as I am important to them. The random person who comes to training I provide, they see me as important to them - they are important to me. Coaching clients, very important to me and I strive to be important to them.
Think about this the next time some presumptuous fool says something about you, makes a comment or a judgement based on very little or things taken out of context or on their own preconceptions - is that person important to you?
If they were important to you, you'd be important to them and they would never ever say something hurtful or rude or make a judgement like that. Someone who's important to you, and you to them, would ask you a question, show concern, laugh at your jokes and listen to things you say, without judgement. Without fear. With compassion and love and purity of thought.
These other people? They're not un-important; of course not, everyone is important to someone, and someone to them. Just not to you. Not to me. The ones important to me, and I to them, ask questions like "How are you doing, really?" " Can I help you?" "What is really going on?" and show concern with words like "You look exhausted, Jen, just rest your head on my shoulder."
Don't rest your head on the shoulder of just anyone. If they don't know you well, they will have bony shoulders that cause you headache and strain in your neck. Find those of mutual love and importance and rest your head on their shoulders - the calm and relaxation will bring you peace and comfort like you've never felt. Then ask if you can offer your shoulder in return. Enjoy feeling important, they sure do.