The following is a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
I am a filterer. I take into consideration other’s feelings and I am careful about what I say. By that I mean I think before I speak.
Sometimes, though, I would love to be candid and respond by “mine own true self" to those whose filters have clearly become clogged. On the other hand, giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it is just that they have basked too long in the bliss of their ignorance and their filters have combusted. Whoosh! Gone!
One of the things I decided to work on, here on this blog, is to find my true self. Not an easy task, especially since I have to wade knee deep through a thousand critical voice messages stored in my brain. Apparently, my memory does not have a limit as to the number that can be stored there and there is no way to erase these messages by simply pressing 7.
One of the earliest messages left on my “brain voice recorder” (I will refer to it from now on as my BVR) is one which I play over and over again. I have to rewind (okay, my BVR is old, and uses tape) all the way back to one of the earliest messages.
"At the tone please leave your message:” Beeeeep.
“Hello, Mrs. C. This is Mrs. Harris, Lynda’s second grade teacher. It is Feb. 1, 1954. I wanted to let you know that Lynda is improving in overcoming her shyness. She cooperates very nicely and is very helpful in the classroom.”
Now, of course Mrs. Harris wasn’t the first one to implant such a message.
My mother told the following story many, many times.
Imagine this in my mother’s voice:
“I’ll never forget this." (She always started off a story with that sentence and believe me she never forgot this one.)
“When it was time for Lynda to start school, there was an orientation at Lincoln school in June for the children who would be starting school in September. It was held in the auditorium at an assembly which included all of the students in the school. At the end of the assembly, Miss Kelly, the principal, asked each of the new kindergarteners to come up on stage and say their name.”
“And do you know that Lynda would not go up on that stage.”
"She was so shy, she just wouldn’t go up there.”
" All of the other kids went up and said their name, but not Lynda. Nope she was just too shy.”
So, first of all “thine self” are you shy?
I decided to do a little research.
Google led me to the Wellesley College
’s psychology department's website and to this link
. It contains a little quiz titled “How Shy Are You?”
This was the result I got after taking the quiz: "Your total is 46. You are somewhat shy. Most shy people score over 39 and a few reach the possible high score of 65."
Okay, I would agree with that assessment. I am somewhat shy. I know I have come to depend on that evaluation of my personality as an explanation (okay in the vein of "true selfness”, maybe sometimes an excuse) of certain behaviors of mine.
But, Mrs. Harris, is this really something that I need to overcome?
Today I make this declaration. I will embrace my somewhat shyness. I will rewind my BVR back to 1983 and replay what that nice man (who found me in a corner all by myself and was the only one to ask me to partner with him)I met in an assertiveness training class. When asked to give a first impression of your partner he said the following:
“Lynda, I find you to be a gentle lady and quite charming.”
Aww, pshaw. Really?