Background: We had to take one of those tests most of your have seen on a Facebook feed to determine your personality. I know these haven’t been nail-biting essays. Just an insight on some of the subject matter. Or an exercise in bullshitting.
Out of the three—Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and social skills—the latter had the highest marks. Being an introvert at heart this surprised me. Conversations aren’t something I look forward to engaging in. Perhaps the twenty plus years in retail sales have honed my skills. For excellent customer service, you have to learn that giving of yourself without regard to the reward at the end will help you deal with other aspects of your life. This is especially true when interacting with complaints. In my youth, shifting gears caused my anxiety to skyrocket. I ran from situations that I charge into now. Reaching out for help just wasn’t an option in my younger years though I had teachers that recognized my struggles. They guided me and shaped who I am today in some way. I believe in growing up I’ve found a balance between maturity and acceptance in the diversity of the world around me.
Then technology changed the way we converse. In the world of the internet, all perspectives are open to our own interpretation. All opinions expose themselves in an unsightly manner. Unlike face to face confrontations, we have the ability to walk away before we hit the send button. To formulate our thoughts or reflect on what our words will accomplish. If only our passionate emotions allowed for such pause. With real life speed, that extra thought process can be lost. I constantly assess how my body language or tone could be perceived to the people I’m interacting with. Unlike the internet where emotions can be misinterpreted, a person’s stance or their vocalizations can send a clear message. I reserve myself more in social circles because of this though that might lend to the introvert side. Body language will also clue me in whether my fellow conversationalists are receptive to another line of thinking.
While people have helped me tremendously in my life, they have always approached me. My greatest weakness is asking for help. I want to figure it out on my own on one hand, and on the other—depending on the situation—embarrassment is the cause. Who wants to admit that their marriage of over twenty years has crumbled to dust or that the person you’ve given your life to has slowly stripped away your dignity and self-worth? Yet without help, how do we break free? I believe the constant feeling of having to prove myself during my lifespan has engrained that I can only count on myself. This isn’t the way to live. I struggle each day with the simple act of asking for help. Disappointment is a delicious candy that rots away your molars.
All in all, if I remember that there is always room for improvement and new ways to push boundaries of the mind and body I can continue to step forward. Without weaknesses, we never will find our strengths.
When I first attempted college in 1987, I dove straight into something that lacked complete and utter direction. Lost in the whirlwind of my parents happy that I had decided higher education was a good thing, I picked courses that had about as much meaning as the tar bubbles I used to pop along the side of the road in my youth. Seriously, what was I going to do with a meteorology class? I thought that Liberal Arts Degree was genius as well. Needless to say I failed miserably. My harried combination of working and going to school full-time broke my barely adult will. The youth of this country really do need direction more than a participation ribbon.
Now I was at the precipice of middle age and as a newly unmarried person, it was time to get serious about what I want to do for the rest of my life. Twisted Sister’s anthem of “I Wanna Rock” wasn’t going to cut it. For the past twenty-two years I’d been in the exciting world of retail sales. A field that, while that long tenure could be construed as a career, wasn’t at all challenging at this point. I have, however, been able to gain experience in reading budgets, managing stock levels, and learning Microsoft Office. In that, I found my goal—or more importantly—my next career path.
For me, failure was not an option. I must succeed and not muddle by—not only in the first term but every consecutive one following. Those days of carefree dreaming had past. Unfortunately, being the sole income in a household of one human slave and three furry overlords, attending classes at an actual campus was not going to be possible. Unlike my youthful self, I had the ability to take online courses. This afforded me to be in the most comfortable environment to learn. At my house, in my jammies, and rocking to whatever music struck my fancy. I’ve taken a page from my directionless youth and decided part-time would suit my needs best. The dishes don’t wash themselves, and I didn’t want the house to turn into a Wild, Wild West theme with furballs starring as the tumbleweeds. I also learned through my experience in completing mandatory training at work that distractions bombarded me no matter how big the headphones I donned were. I called it the curse of trying to learn everything about your job no matter how mundane or unattractive the position could be. How we perform, whether a transitional dishwashing jig to a high-powered office environment, will shape our skills to not only handle the job market but our personal lives.
I am the cornerstone to my success. However, I cannot rely on just myself. Pride has no place and asking for help doesn’t make me a lesser being. The ultimate goal is using the resources afforded to me to reach the end goal. I can do this.
I’ve been through a lot in the past four years. In reflection, how I dealt with leaving an abusive relationship and figuring out how to manage my finances on a limited income surprised me. I could have allowed the whole scenario to defeat me. The great wide world of depression can drag you down to depths that will compound any situation to a runaway train tilting off the tracks. My nature is not one of control. For example, I can’t expect to remove all traces of cat hair from a room and walk in it an hour later to see it remain so. Fur tumbleweeds thrive in the smallest of places. I can also seek isolation when anxiety reaches critical mass. However, when in the working world, just running from a problem can potentially make you unemployed. Coping mechanisms—perhaps a stress ball—can help you power through the day until something as relaxing as meditation can be employed. Or a forced hug fest with one of your cats. Whatever works. Just have bandages at the ready.
I laughed when reading the 101 things I could utilize to manage my stress levels. “Plan B” in particular has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, I put more stock in a secondary plan that the initial one put into play. Life is full of pitfalls and traps if a backup isn’t on the list, movement forward could cease and possibly lead to missed opportunities. Drive isn’t the issue, it’s the anxiety that builds that messes with the delicate balance of managing one’s life. Sometimes it’s one shot to achieve a dreams and sometimes you realize that’s not the path for you. Destiny is a forking road. Embrace it.
So we must manage all the stress and anxiety the world throws at us like a 90 mile an hour curveball. It’s okay to not know everything, decline an invitation, or sleep an extra hour on the weekend. Break free of the guilt yet take responsibility for your actions. Even in adulthood peer pressure can rear its high school head. We must ask ourselves why we feel compelled to jump off the figurative bridge to please anyone. The real person everyone needs to take care of is the one staring back in the mirror. Being a person who utters “yes” at every moment can batter your self-worth and leave no “me” time. We all need that to recharge. Remember that.