I am what you can call hyper sensitive personality. My hyper sensitivity has all sort of qualities; it makes me more attuned and empathetic sometimes because when I engage with other people it is very important for me that they feel GOOD.
A lot of times I am mirroring the person in front of me, it is a good communication skill, but I took it to the extreme (not on purpose). When I used to mirror people I forgot one important thing: my-self.
Basically I was trying to adjust socially by making minor changes in the way I speak, dress or act. I was ALWAYS afraid of what other people think, do, or say. I tried to please. I wasn’t completely 100% my-self as I was afraid to be rejected. I thought if I speak with others only about the common things we have – it will be the best. I also tried to become friends with everybody, giving fair chance to everyone and being non-judgmental.
It all sounds nice and pleasant, but it had a toll on me.
I was constantly getting offended and hurt by others while constantly acting half authentic due to ‘not wanting to hurt them’.
True, I have a lot of friends and during my life I was always liked by others, I didn’t have any social problem – however the price I paid was internal.
Thinking on how to improve my communication skills, how to improve my well-being and how to be happier, I saw I forgot 2 important 'rules':
1. self-esteem. 2. The truth set you free.
What do I mean?
1. Self-esteem. We often tend to dismiss it, but low or lack of self-esteem is a terrible disease, which hurt not only the person himself – but also his surroundings. If the person in front of you keeps hurting or getting offended by what you are saying, it could be that he suffers from low self-esteem.
The interaction is not quite smooth when you feel you need to weight every word that comes out of your mouth, or getting a whiplash from a hurting Ego that you didn’t even mean to disturb. It feels sometimes like you are walking on eggs near this person.
If you are suffering from low self-esteem, your ego is more vulnerable and easy to get hurt. You think about the other BEFORE you think about yourself. The other’s opinion is more important than yours, and you are damaging your-self by not putting your own benefit first.
But that doesn’t mean – go around and yell your truths – be yourself – no matter if it hurts others…. No. It also doesn’t mean you can act like a selfish bastard :) that is not what I mean and I will get to that later.
2. The truth set you free. I believe that the truth is liberating.
When all the cards are open on the table, as they say – it is the best ground for work, relationships, life in general. To not be who I really am meant I didn’t speak with everyone about all the topics that interest me, I spoke about what interest them.
I was afraid that if I think outside of the box, people will not understand me. If I didn’t agree with someone’s stand – I didn’t argue, I usually avoided confrontations, most of the time from a place that didn’t want to upset anyone, but also from a defending ego.
What I found out after therapy is that when I am holding myself back, my opinions, my personality, I hurt myself – I don’t live to the fullest authenticity I can and should. When you are honest with yourself and with people – great things come out.
We all should be able to communicate ourselves in the best honest way.
Truth can also hurt sometimes, you might say. It only hurts when your reaction to the truth is pain. Think about it, the truth doesn’t hurt – it’s how you react to it that does it.
But then how can I be myself, authentic and free, yet with dignity and respect, without hurting people? How do I combine these 2 important ideals?
I found out that when you are initiating your thoughts and actions on positive intention…. Then there is nothing to worry about :). If the base ground for your thoughts, mind-set, view of the world is good, compassionate and positive – then you will verbalize it. The energy you exert will be the same. That way you can be sure – you do not mean to hurt or harm anyone. If you did? You can be sure that at least 1. You are honest 2. Your intention is good. That means that if the person in front of you is offended, it is really his reaction and his way of interpretation.
Of course always communicate and keep talking about it – I guess you wouldn’t want to go around hurting people and leave it like that; but your starting point is already good and positive. You have a higher positive intention.
So, as far as my inquiries went - I have come to the conclusion that being truthful, honest and good! Are essentials for improved communication and well-being.
It is also true that we should choose carefully the people surround us. If you hang around with someone that is always negative, pessimistic and cynical; at the end of the day you will receive a big portion of all his attributes that will affect you and your mood. If you want to grow and improve your life – you should be around people that motivates and inspire you; people who believe in you and see the good in you. People that are doing and having the qualities and values you have or believe in.
We are social creatures, affecting each other and it is good to know how we can utilize our energy and influence.