I went on a date Monday night. It was with a man I didn’t know; we had dinner at a nice place. He’s a cook and restauranteur, which makes him, job-wise, quite unlike the people I’ve dated in the past. I was excited but also a bit nervous.
We talked easily but I noticed myself—sometimes in the moment but usually after-the-fact—downplaying my accomplishments. When he talked about his years of travelling and working all over the world, I commented that I’d spent my 20s in grad school. I contrasted his thriving and growing business with my unemployment; his past long-term relationships with my string of romantic failures. I wasn’t all doom and gloom (promise!) but there were moments I wish I’d handled better.
Why was I intimidated? Why am I not as confident as I should be? Why did I downplay my abilities, activities, and achievements? I’m amazing! I’ve done incredible things. I’ve been celebrated for my accomplishments in different fields. I’m creative, determined, passionate, smart, and maybe even a little inspiring. The way I talk about myself should reflect these things! This isn’t to say I should ignore the failures and frustrations. But neither should I ignore the successes and celebrations. This was a perfect opportunity for me to tell my story the way I want to, (mostly) free of preconceived notions on his part. Sigh.
The good news is that now I’ve noticed the problem, I can work on the solution! Narrative reframing now in progress….