Friday, April 12, 2013

Just Afraid

I ask students to characterize themselves by completing the sentence, "I'm the type of person who. . ."

Sometimes students finish the sentence and then offer the story behind how they developed that particular personality trait.

Once a student read her sentence about how mean, abrasive, and dominant she was. She was fully aware of how she came off as a bully and someone you simply didn't want to cross. She paused and then explained, "It's because I'm shy. I'm just scared and don't know what to do."

She's just afraid. 

I realized then that when we look at a person's negative and abrasive personality traits, it just might be fear we're seeing.

She's just afraid. 

Once we heard this, we all softened towards her. We saw the fear, so we moved towards her and not away.

When I want to move away from someone because of negative personality traits, I'm starting to see the fear underneath and soften.

"She's just afraid." I love remembering this when I'm dealing with a difficult person.


strugglngwriter said...

And sometimes we are afraid to look at what's under another person's personality traits because that means we were wrong in our initial assessment and will therefore have to try harder.

This is a great post.

Paul (

LivewithFlair said...

True, Paul! This has happened to me!

Roberta Rae said...

I once had difficulty with a nurse colleague. She was a good nurse, but she pushed all my buttons. I finally realized this was a problem for me to solve. My conclusion: we had very different styles to life and nursing. Backing away and assessing made a huge difference. Thanks for this post.