I’m an easy-going person. I think if you ask anyone that knows me well, they’d say one of my striking characteristics is my calmness. I’m interrogating this ‘calmness’ of mine at the moment. In a way I like being perceived this way, but every once in a while I want permission to be a little erratic or cranky. What I’ve discovered about my ability to be so calm is that I allows me to mould myself to others and situations effortlessly.
I question if this is a conscious or unaware behaviour of mine? Is going with the flow, saying ‘yes’ to what opportunities present to me, being indecisive or indifferent, or not reacting to situations that trigger buttons all in an effort for people to ‘like’ me? Or am I actually subtly (and cunningly) in control because I don’t let most things stress me? I’m finding this really challenging to write as it all seems contradictory.
Weirdly, all these challenging points of view also feel authentic, I perceive myself as empathetic, compassionate, wise, and I do allow and accept people to be themselves. But… am I loosing myself in the process? Am I bending, shaping and contorting myself into the person I want to be or the person that others want to be around. I am confused. So here is a look at the advantages, pitfalls and conclusions I’ve drawn to how my calmness and its resulting moulding to others can affect me.
So what are the benefits?
One big plus is the ability to embrace the decisions and leadership of others easily. I’m hassle-free and able to go with the flow. I can be taken on all kinds of adventures, try new things, meet interesting people, I’m open to experimenting, and spontaneity is something I am drawn to.
I’m likeable, and most people enjoy spending time with me.
I’m able to cope, or hold people in light and dark moments.
I have a lot of drive for starting new projects and an enthusiasm for life, and I also give a lot of energy to my relationships, and friendships in particular.
I enjoy learning from others, and have a curiosity about people and what makes them tick, so I like spending time with them and seeing their perception and way of dealing with the world.
It’s got me to a career I am in, and I love the work I do. I need to be calm and have an open awareness to coach effectively.
On the flipside, being so calm and easy-going can get me into off track
I can get a sense of being taken advantage of if my boundaries aren’t strengthened.
I can find it hard to say no.
I often find it tricky to speak up and ask for what I want in fear of being judged, rejected or causing conflict.
It can cause me to loose focus on what’s important for me, as I can be distracted by a better offer, therefore my own work or goals can be de-prioritised.
Or I can be a people-pleaser often to my own detriment. The last time I strongly felt this moulding come up I had to break free from a long term relationship as I felt we’d become one person and I was giving up on my own ambition and dreams for the future. I’ve made efforts to establish my independence and ensure that it doesn’t happen again, yet I can often feel it creep in.
So what is the delicate balance?
I think the best analogy I can use for the sake of clarity in this blog is water. If you compare the range of emotions we go through to the way water changes, you’ll begin to see that water can and does mould to its environment. It has many forms – from salt or fresh, frozen as ice, boiling hot through to being evaporated. It can form a massive bed – a lake, river, stream or ocean. Or water can slip between tiny cracks – amongst the rocks, seep through soil and be pushed through pipes. So is this a blessing that it’s so fluid, or just showing it’s actually got a range of ways of being?
The overarching gift water gives many of us is a sense of calm. It can be mesmerising to watch or transformative when immersed in. Water fluctuates like we humans. It’s got attractiveness, it’s cleansing, peaceful, refreshing and life giving. But if it’s abused or taken advantage of it can be dammed, unstable, unpredictable, cause devastation, it can dry up, melt, disappear or leave us feeling thirsty.
So I guess my conclusion is that I will surrender to the fact that I am calm, and go with the ebbs and flows of life, much like water. I will learn so much more, not just for myself, but about others too, being in contact with a wider range of emotions, thoughts, experiences. I don’t want to be high-maintenance, but I do need to ensure I make the choice to honour myself in each situation so the torrents of others don’t drown me, or wash me downstream. I like the idea that I can connect with the different energies of water each day, or in each moment, to ensure I am honouring what I value, desire and need from my life.
Experiment a little…
Can you relate to this concept of moulding to others in your life?
Play around with what type of water you are, or can be. For example, are you stuck in your ways being frozen solid, a calm tropical lagoon, lapping waves on the sand, or perhaps a flowing river that sweeps past others taking no passengers. Do you have grace or force?