Be Yourself but Don’t Expect Others to Be Like You

Written by Meredith Kimmel

March 4, 2020

I don’t get stressed out easily.  I’m pretty easy going and I go with the flow naturally.  However, the last several weeks have been incredibly stressful both personally and professionally.  As a result, these stressful feelings puzzled me. 

I tried to figure out ways to cut down on the stress and use tactics to manage it. Nothing in my routine significantly changed. I am very good about time management and keeping to my calendar.  I started wondering about the source of the stress.  I don’t overschedule myself and I don’t overcommit.  As I started analyzing each day’s events, it occurred to me that (poor) communication had been the underlying theme.  I value and hold communication in very high regard.  What I realized was that my network was not communicating with me in the style that I needed. This lack of communication was causing me stress. 

Now for the plot twist: this post is not about stress or communication.  I realized my needs weren’t being met. I had expectations of people communicating with me in the same manner that I would communicate with them.  I realized that because I had these expectations and my network was not behaving in the same manner as I would behave, I was getting stressed out.  Then what crept into my head was my late mother’s sage advice, “you can’t expect people to do something or behave the way that you would.”

Upon having this thought, my whole temperament changed and the stress exited my body.  I felt a weight literally leave my shoulders.  It was freeing. 

I frequently offer my mother’s words to my clients in their coaching sessions as a way to reframe their thinking.  We all have our own behaviors and our own patterns.  We are so used to these patterns because they are us.  We forget that other people do not behave the way we do.  That doesn’t make their behavior wrong. It just makes it different.  We need to show sensitivity and grace in our interactions. 

I was expecting communication from my network in the same manner that I would have given it. Since I wasn’t receiving the communication that way, I was getting stressed out.  Had I remembered my mother’s advice initially, I could have avoided a lot of stress and just continued with my normal go-with-the-flow attitude. 

I challenge you to use some grace and understanding and to remember that you are the only one who is you.  Remember that no one else is going to behave exactly like you or do exactly what you do.  You have to manage those interactions so that they don’t cause you unnecessary stress.

Honor yourself and be proud of who you uniquely are.

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