A few days ago I was in the midst of some lighthearted texting banter with a friend when he casually threw a handful of descriptors my direction, charging me of being the following:
- high maintenance
- high fashion sense
I immediately countered with a reference to Sheryl Sandberg and her #banbossy campaign:
Sheryl Sandberg is advocating for the removal of “bossy” from our vernacular as it sends the wrong message to our female population about their true leadership capabilities.
I then sent a text message with a rewrite, suggesting I’m certain he meant to say the following about me instead:
- I maintain high expectations of myself and those around me.
- I’m assertive and know what I want.
- My leadership skills shine in every circumstance.
- I pay attention to details, particularly with myself and when I dress it is a reflection of my personal standards of excellence.
- I am fabulous. Thanks for noticing.
This is not a post advocating for banning the word bossy, although I am an advocate for every single person reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.
This is also not a post to denigrate my friend for his comments, which I have taken out of context to share here with you. (He fully endorses and supports my rewrite.)
This IS a post about knowing yourself.
Sometimes we hear something said about ourselves and we choose to internalize that message as truth. Perhaps that something was said years ago or perhaps it was just last week.
Words are just words. Your thoughts apply meaning to them, and once you’ve attached meaning, you start generating emotions around those thoughts and before you realize it, you’ve created a belief. A false one.
Remember the childhood rhyme?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words (or names) will never hurt me!
Maybe we should repeat this more often as adults than we did as children. Attaching meaning to names and words is a habit and habits are meant to be broken, at least the bad ones!
Who are you?
Know the answer to this question unequivocally. Without hesitation.
State your list out loud to yourself so you can hear it. Attach your meaning to those words and the emotions you generate will be positive because hearing those words will resonate an inner truth deep within you and you will smile from the inside out, and a new belief will have been created.
Now if anyone (yourself included) throws you a label or a name or a title that doesn’t fit your personal description, you’ll be prepared to deliver an accurate definition back.
Okaaay! What a fascinating conversation that must have been! Isn’t it fantastic that some people assume the responsibility to share those insights with us?
We all need people like that in our lives! Otherwise our self esteem would just spiral out of control.
But, hey, what a brilliant reframe!
Good to see you are using your client coaching skills with yourself.
Jayme Soulati says
This is a fabulous post. I was ALWAYS called bossy when I was a kid. I can so relate to this. I love your retort, too. Perfect come back and then you got to write about it! See how blogging is therapy?
How’s by you, anyway?
I can’t imagine you EVER being called “bossy,” Jayme 🙂 So glad you stopped in for a read.
Thank you! This is great!
I’m so glad you stopped by for a read, Teresa!