Than you’ve decided they are.
On Saturday my husband was looking for shoes online. When he showed me a picture of the ones he was ‘drawn to’ I was lost for words. They were bright and very sporty looking. ‘Not him at all’ I thought, and thankfully managed not to say. I suggested getting the type he always wore but this time, he wanted a change. What was this? Unexpected, that’s for sure.
Thinking about it soon afterwards, I realised what I have done: categorised someone because I think I know who they are. When we say with surprise, ‘but that’s not you at all’ we are banging the final nail in the coffin of someone who wants to try something new. For a change. A few years ago I wrote Never assume always, and today I’m back thinking about giving people the chance to be different.
It applies to my children too. When my timid son tells me he loved the high waves breaking into his sailboat, I need to hide surprise. When I hear my daughter acing her scales during her piano lesson, I have to remember she is always learning and will continue to get better at everything.
Sometimes, people need space to be more than we give them credit for. Sometimes we will be pleasantly surprised. Forget the words ‘that’s not you’ and be something else. When someone asks you ‘what do you do?’ remember that you are so much more than the one word answer they’re expecting to hear.
When was the last time you did something out of character? My challenge to you is to find that unpredictable thing and go for it. Don’t let that phrase ‘be yourself’ be limited by what other people have decided you are.
The crazy shoes aren’t here yet, but when they arrive I promise I’ll hold my tongue. Twenty-three years of being with someone does not mean they will never surprise you.