In order to know where the ideas I share are coming from, and where I hope to take them, I think it is important to understand my personality. Not because it matters who I am, but because I believe that the type of person I am may have some bearing on how I got to where I was. It can be very difficult to recognize that we are in some situation that has contributed to changing the core of who we are. That situation, I’m sure, varies from person to person. For me – and I learned later, for many other women out there – that situation was an abusive marriage. Recognizing, and accepting, the situation for what it is…that is the hard part.
Why is this important? Because once you realize that you are in a situation that is fundamentally changing how you view life, how you see the world, how you interact with others, and possibly most importantly, how you view yourself, you can come to terms with how you are going to handle it. This is not an easy journey. In my case, it was like hitting absolute bottom. I guess how you handle hitting absolute bottom depends on your personality. This brings me back to my initial point; my personality.
I am a nurturer. From the time I was a child, I wanted to take care of people. I was going to be a teacher, which I did later become. There is a constant need, in me, to take care of others, especially those I’m close to. I want to protect them, fix the situations they are in, guide them on to better possibilities, and make them happy. Mind you, they may not even solicit my help (which can be problematic at times). But, I want to help them to have a better life. The sad reality of this is that I cannot do it for them. This is something people must do for themselves. So, very often, I will revert to what I can do for them, often losing myself in the process of taking care of everything so that the other person can be happy.
I am also a people person. Many people see me as outgoing and extroverted. In some cases, I am. I’m not the one who randomly introduces myself to total strangers. Nor am I the one who will strike up a conversation at a party. However, if someone takes it upon themselves to talk to me, I instantly fall at ease. An important point to note is that one of the most difficult parts of my journey has been learning to be alone. Mastering that is something that will likely take many more months.
I am trusting. There are many more kind people in the world than hurtful ones, right? Maybe that depends on who you associate with. I want to believe that people have my best interest at heart. Sadly, I have learned to be more guarded in this area, because I have been hurt time and time again by my trust in others. However, I will probably always trust more people than not. I refuse to go through life thinking the worst of those around me. Getting hurt is a part of life. I believe we should do our best to chose wisely, and trust God to bring the right people into our lives. Each person we come into contact with helps us to grow in some way.
Finally, I am empathetic. This goes hand-in-hand with being a nurturer in many ways. Some may disagree with this statement because they know me personally. I can be thick skinned and tough on people (think past students and those I deal with in my line of work). I draw a hard line between right and wrong. However, I still hurt for you if your actions have proven to have some consequences. I feel worse if you are suffering through no fault of your own. And if I have a close relationship with you, all bets are off. I have found that I will compromise my wants and needs for, what I believe to be, your benefit.
Maybe you can relate to these traits, or maybe not. With the forthcoming posts, I will expand on each of them and how I believe they challenged me, positively and negatively, throughout my ongoing journey.