Of course, I'm thinking about this current ending and wondering what I might have done differently. As is usually the case, I've got some character traits that kick my butt now and then. Here is my true confession:
- I am usually an optimistic, upbeat person. I tend to take people at their word. I haven't gotten burned often enough to change my approach to life and trust a little less. So I go further down the road of uncomfortable situations because of my tendency to be gullible.
- I am assertive and direct. Sometimes to a fault. I rarely intend to hurt people with what I say, but sometimes the words that come out of my mouth astonish even me. And sometimes I don't realize the impact my words have had on other people. I can remember hurting people's feelings 40 years ago with things I said. In conflict situations, though, my directness often vanishes and I get downright wishy-washy. I've yet to master the magic of diplomacy. I can do it as a mediator, but not as myself.
- I expect people to behave the way I would in similar circumstances. For example, if I make an agreement I will keep it even if it's to my own detriment. I'm not tolerant of others who don't. This one bites me frequently - not the keeping an agreement part, but my expectation that others will behave as I do. I've been told I have high standards for other people's behavior. It's not a compliment.
- I am what's called an external processor: I think out loud. When there's a disagreement or misunderstanding between me and another person, I want to sit down and talk it out right now. This doesn't sit well with people who need to process silently, in their own time. My husband Art and I often postpone the resolution of a conflict for 24 hours. By that time he will have had a chance to think about his position, and I may have forgotten what the problem was!
- Sometimes things happen for no apparent reason. I always look for a reason anyway. I tire myself out.
No one is perfect, and for the most part I'm content with the person I am. Every now and then, though, in disappointing situations, I wonder what would have happened if I'd been a little different.