I’m back again to continue my list of 13 things I’ve learned in 33 years. It’s the third day of 2014, and I’m SO happy the holidays are over! I’m being completely serious. Pretty soon people are going to stop talking about New Year’s Resolutions, and start putting them into action. And I’ll no longer have to answer questions about my New Year’s Eve. I was in bed before midnight.
So, let’s get the ball rolling!
7. Use a filter. Honesty isn’t always the best policy.
I know I have a blemish on my forehead, and I’ve gained weight since I last saw you. In Thailand, I could always count on my friends to point out my ‘flaws’. No judgments were attached to their comments; they didn’t love me any less. In fact, they would often empathize, and pinch their own rolls. However, I still took their comments to heart. Honesty wasn’t necessary. I didn’t have bird poop in my hair, and my boyfriend wasn’t cheating on me. I had a mirror, and could easily see what they saw.
As an introvert, I always think a moment or two before I let the words come out of my mouth — I use my filter. Is honesty the best policy here?
8. I’m an introvert, and I’m okay.
When I was younger I was labeled a snob. That’s what happens when you are smart and quiet. Later in life, I was labeled boring and anti-social. That’s what happens when you are sober and introspective. I would dread going to parties or large gatherings because I’d always have to answer the same question: “Are you okay?” I’d always reply with a fake smile, “I’m fine, just a little tired.” In reality, I would be counting down the minutes until I could excuse myself from the intoxicated chit-chat. But there were also times when I enjoyed being that gecko on the wall — the one taking everything in, and only talking when I had something sufficiently witty or interesting to say.
Now, I’m a well-adjusted introvert. I’m the listener that gives thoughtful advice. I’m the friend that you’ll share secrets with. I’m okay. In fact, I’m better than okay, so don’t ask again, and please take a look at 21 things that introverts love.
9. A smile goes a long way.
I miss living in the Land of Smiles. When I moved away, I became acutely aware of how people reserve smiles for those they know or those they want to know. My smiles are sometimes returned, but often not acknowledged or even worse, thrown on the ground. Here it is even hard to make eye contact with someone. We are too busy exchanging emoticons on our devices. A smile makes us vulnerable — it says, “I see you.” What’s the harm in this basic acknowledgment?
Never underestimate the power of a smile. It can start a conversation, brighten someone’s day, and even make you look younger!
Until next time, remember to use your filter, stop asking, “Are you okay?”, and smile at a stranger!
I’ll be back Sunday with 4 more things that I’ve come to realize in my 33 years.
What insights have you gained in your life?