A week ago I was at a workshop to discuss the vision for an organisation with which I am involved. I only knew about a third of the people who attended. The work the organisation does is close to my heart and I have fairly strong opinions about one aspect of the work.
As the day progressed I found myself increasing being the voice of caution or dissent. It is not a role I usually play in such gatherings. Near the end of the day, as we were engaged in our final task, one of the people sitting at the table with me made a comment in passing about something I was doing. I can’t quite remember the phrasing, but he clearly viewed me as someone who is stubborn.
I’ve been ruminating on that for the week. I have never really thought of myself as being stubborn, and yet I can see how he might have got that impression that day. The remark was really not a personal attack, it was quite simply an observation. It has stopped in me in my tracks and forced me to examine the way in which I do hold opinions and offer them. I need to be careful because I think my voice carries authority, at least in some circles, and I am no longer the precocious youngster.
It made me realise how little real, honest feedback I get on a day to day basis. My initial presumption is that it a deficit associated with being single, but I am not sure that is necessarily true. Nonetheless, I realise that it is something that I crave. I’m not suggesting that I am now open for criticism on anything you fancy. But that I recognise that I am not always capable of seeing my own weaknesses; I am not always capable of appreciating the way in which I am coming across. Having someone else who cares sufficiently for me to point out my strengths and weaknesses in love would be a real bonus.
I do have people who are willing to point out my strengths, but I think I would be better off in the long run, if there were a few more people who were willing to point out my weaknesses.
In writing this I feel I am opening myself to all sorts of unwarranted criticism, so I would ask that anyone who wants to rise to this challenge to be attentive of their own motivations. And I would caution that I am not used to this, so you may have to be a bit patient with me. (There are a couple of people in my life who do do this for me – but the ones who immediately come to mind live a long way away)