I’m such a Pollyanna. I truly believe that people are basically good, nice, friendly, and kind. That they care about each other. Don’t want to hurt each other. See only the good in each other. On and on and on. And generally, the people in my world ARE that way. It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy: I expect folks to be nice, and they generally are.

When I encounter someone who is NOT those things, it brings me up short. I know the world is full of sad, angry people – I just try not to have any dealings with them. It’s almost a challenge to make them smile, although I can tell a losing battle when I see it.

Anyway, my goal in life has always been just to be happy. To have fun (in a responsible way), to be kind, to be a good friend. I bounce through life like Tigger, believing that everyone will understand and accept who and what I am. So when someone sees me as something different, it brings me up short. In my naive way, I can’t believe that anyone would see me as anything but me, in all my crazy, transparent glory. It feels like a betrayal when someone interprets my behavior as something bad or threatening, when that’s the last thing on my mind. I’m not sure how to proceed; if they see me as something other than who I really am, I don’t know what I can do to clear that up.

I know we’re not supposed to worry about what other people think of us. We can’t please everyone. But what am I supposed to do in the face of someone misreading my intentions? Especially when that someone is a friend. It shakes me to the core that they think I’m someone I’m not, capable of something I’m not. Makes me second-guess my every step, wondering if something I did made them stop trusting me.

That’s a dance that will drive you crazy.

So my solution is to withdraw. I hate conflict, so certainly wouldn’t confront this person and ask them why in the heck they think those things about me. (Yes, that’s probably the right thing to do, but it’s way too hard for me. I’d rather just avoid the situation completely and save myself the hassle.) Besides, I never have been able to perfect my poker face, so that heart I wear on my sleeve is pretty easy to see. And I want to preserve at least a scrap of self-confidence and not let them know that they’ve hurt me. So I’ll just stay away for a while, and see if it magically fixes itself. (What else would Pollyanna do?)

So tonight, I’m working on regaining my confidence. I know who and what I am. I’m sorry if they see me as someone I’m not. Pollyanna Tigger will just keep bouncing along, doing what she does best, and hope that it all comes out in the wash.

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3 Responses to Pollyanna

  1. Brancy says:

    In regards to your question…I really don’t think most people can see us except through their own filters, so everything you say and do is interpreted through that person’s life experiences. If someone misread you, and you care about them enough to continue the friendship, I would write them a letter and try and clear things up. I find letters work better than conversations oft times because in conversation, things can take a wrong turn and get totally off track!

  2. Deb D. says:

    Sometimes we can take the wrong perceptions that people have about us and use it as a tool to better ourselves (if needed 🙂

    Case in point… I went to a small high school. You easily passed every one of the student body numerous times throughout the day. My personality: shy. At the end of one year, I had interaction with an underclassman for some event. At the end of our time together, her comment to me was, “I thought you were just a stuck-up person! But you’re really nice.” Her perception of my shyness was arrogance. It shocked me to have anyone think I was arrogant, since the reality was the complete opposite. But I sat back and realized that yes, my shyness could be mistaken. It caused me to make sure I had eye contact with people I passed in the stairwell, give a little smile, nod of the head or a simple hello. Simple acts like that shot down the “stuck-up” moniker. And, in spite of my shyness, which is still my personality, made me a better person.

    Now I know this is an example from the formative years of life. But life is a constant learning experience. And don’t overlook the “if needed” preface. Sometimes in life we also just have to dust off our shoes and move on.

    • Brancy says:

      Good point Deb! That has happened to me numerous times, especially with the men in my life, but I was much older before I let down my defenses long enough to see what they saw and it was shocking and overwhelming at first. It’s when I first realized how narcissistic I was, without even realizing it! But then again, maybe that is a major part of being narcissistic! = ) I feel like I have made changes for the better, but the last three men in my life have died and no one else seems to be willing to put their life at risk by dating me, so I don’t have anyone to bounce my altered self off of!

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