I am way too malleable. Among the many definitions of this are: Capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces; Easily influenced; Able to be hammered or pressed permanently out of shape without breaking or cracking. That would be me. Do any of you run into this? Just when I think I’m being true to myself I turn around and am at it again, changing to please others.
A friend recently told me his preferences for conversation style saying he liked a quiet, reserved way of communicating–less talking and more silence. That’s not exactly my way so I immediately judged myself as somehow wrong and set about figuring out how to be different. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to change me. He was just telling me what he likes. That would make this my issue, not his. And even if he was, it’s still my issue if I change to please him.
I’m outgoing and talkative in social situations. I feel responsible for keeping the conversation going, to fill in the silences, even though I’m actually pretty shy and can feel somewhat awkward. I’m sure lots of you can relate to this. It’s pretty common, I think.
He and I talked about this: How different I am when socializing than when I’m at home. In my home it’s just me with the animals and hour after hour of silence. When he’s there with me I give him lots of space and as much quiet time as he seems to want. But I don’t give myself permission for silence when I’m out in public. He suggested I try it.
The fact is, though, I enjoy both: Being quiet and talking. I was born under a Leo moon so, let’s face it, I like attention, and I’m a Gemini. We’re all about communicating. I have a fiercely analytical mind and I appreciate interesting discussions on a range of diverse topics. This isn’t wrong, it’s just who I am–how I’m built.
But I do want to look at how I behave with others, to consider whether or not I want to approach the world “out there” more like I live at home. Would I be more comfortable that way? Maybe. Could I be a better listener? Absolutely. But if I change anything about how I communicate, it has to come from my own desire to change, not because someone else might like me better if I do. That’s where it gets tricky for me: Knowing the motives behind my actions.
Interestingly, a character in a movie I watched last night said, when facing the same problem within herself, “He took small pieces of me which I willingly gave, one at a time, so I didn’t notice, but piece by piece, little by little, I lost myself. I changed so much that I didn’t exist anymore”.
It’s a slow and winding process, it seems, coming to ourselves. As T.S. Eliot so eloquently put it:
“And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”.
Love to you all,
Photos were provided by Kevin Hulett.