Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness: update on my recent experiences!


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“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness”. This quote made me reflect on a number of recent experiences. I thought I should jot a few of these in a blog post, so here goes…

My reflections centred around how we ‘see’ ourselves and how this can either be similar or different from how others ‘see’ us. I would say I’m a naturally kind and caring person. This would explain why I’m a passionate nurse in my heart even if I am no longer on the frontline. It would also explain why I chose to pursue a PhD exploring compassionate and culturally competent care.

It is really important to be self-aware but not self-obsessed. In keeping a pulse on how we come across to others, we need to have the emotional intelligence and courage to seek feedback from our peers, colleagues and those who we interact with. The courage aspect is key because there is a certain vulnerability that receiving such feedback can induce. What if you are told that no one has anything positive to say about you?How would you respond to that? Are you insightful enough to already be aware of this? Do you care? Well, it goes without question that you should care. If you lacked the insight into how you were perceived by others, don’t despair. It’s never too late to change and you will be respected for being receptive and for recognising the need to improve.

We are all guilty of making assumptions about others based on a range of issues. Sometimes we live to regret it and other times we discover how wrong we have been about people. We need to be aware of the assumptions we make and try to avoid these. Give people a chance to express themselves rather than assuming who they are, how they think and what they will say or do.

Speaking of assumptions, a colleague once asked me how I stayed so ‘precious’? Precious?!!! What does that even mean? No one who knows me well would ever describe me as being ‘precious’! I later learned that he was referring to my size. He had assumed that I had been deliberately dieting or exercising. The funniest thing about this was that culturally, I was not even that comfortable being that weight and was actively trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle to increase my weight. Strange but true!

I often smile when I hear other assumptions that have been made. In meetings, I often listen to others and hear what is being discussed before adding my views. People appear somewhat bemused that you can have an opinion without feeling the need to force others to agree with you. Someone said today that I can be ‘hard to read’. That was a first! Interestingly, I’m still unsure if it was a compliment or not. What do you think? Either way, I will continue to treat others the way I would like to be treated, still say a chirpy ‘good morning’ to everyone in the morning even if I get strange looks and I will always find the time to help anyone who needs it. Call it what you like, but weak…certainly not!

As a famous talk show host, who will remain nameless, used to say at the end of each episode “take good care of yourselves and each other”

Follow my blog as I journey on balancing work, study and life.

Follow me on Twitter: @mcintoshnichole

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