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Do You Really Want To Be Stereotype?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We adopted two little puppies in April. Although they look almost identical in appearance, they couldn't be more different in personality. They are both black with wavy, non shed (thank goodness) hair. Razzle's back paws have white markings on them. To other people, it is hard to tell them apart. I have no problem because if one looks closely at the two puppies, their eyes and the shape of their heads are different. It reminds me of a case of identical twins who can only be distinguished by their mother. (No I don't have black wavy hair! LOL)

Razzle is the shy puppy who barks at things she doesn't understand. She is quietly playful with me and loudly playful with her sister. She likes to be picked up on her terms and doesn't like to be separated from hubby and me. Missile is the extrovert puppy. She launches into play with abandon and is fearless in exploring new things. She plays with boundless energy, expresses herself loudly at all times, digs, chews and squirms. Like her sister, she doesn't like to be separated from hubby and me. She also doesn't like to be separated from her sister.

I initially thought that the sweet lovable puppy (Razzle) would be a snugly puppy. She is, to an extent, but she would rather sit close to you than be confined. The wild child (Missile) nips and runs and gets into everything but when I pick her up, she stops. She loves to snuggle and be held (unless her sister has her chewie). Who would have thought the wild puppy would be the snugly puppy. I am beyond delighted to have a puppy who loves to snuggle. It has been years since we've had one like her.

This got me thinking as I watched our puppies playing this afternoon. How many times have people taken a look ,at each of us, and made a judgement about who we are based upon how we look. There are all kinds of stereotypes out there about looks. Some of the stereotypes have a grain of truth to them but the majority of them are wrong. I've even found myself falling prey to the "fat girl" stereotype about myself. For a long time, I didn't even try to project any degree of self confidence because I figured, "Why bother. They see me as fat anyway." With that attitude, others did indeed see me as a fat woman. Part of there perception was totally wrong but my own attitude fed into their overall impression of me as a person. Once I decided to change, I had to change my own attitude about myself and project a different image to others.

How did I start the changing process? I picked the area where I had the most confidence and started from there. It was kind of fun to work on my confidence in an area where I knew I had talent. In fact, it was a fairly easy task. With practice and a little polishing, my area of talent began to shine! The confidence that I developed spilled out into other areas of my life. Success does indeed breed success!

As I grew mentally and emotionally, I decided to test my ability to be confident in different situations. I needed to get some exercise so I chose to go to the gym. Initially I rode the recumbent cycle and walked on the treadmill. The ultimate test was when I decided to put on a bathing suit and get into the pool to work out in water.

If I could have gotten into the water with my beach towel still wrapped around me, I would have! Still, if my experiment was going to work, I had to suck it up and take the bull by the horns. I imagined what people might be saying as I walked from the locker room into the pool area and eventually to the pool stairs. My mind told me that others would say, "Wow, look how fat that lady is! She should wear a suit that covers all of those rolls!" (Obviously I had my work cut out for me if I was still playing that old tape in my head!) Instead, as I was getting into the pool, a lady said, "Hi! I'm Pam and I'll be your instructor today. I love your suit. It is so pretty! Where did you get it?" I'm sure my mouth hung open in surprise as I scrambled for a reply.

What I'm trying to say in a long winded, round about way here, is that you can project any kind of image you want to other people. If you like yourself, act friendly, can dig deep and come up with some confidence, you can encourage people to look at the real you instead of some stereotype. When I acted like the "fat girl" and disliked myself, other people saw me as an unhappy fat woman. Most of the time, people didn't bother with me. When I changed my own attitude toward myself and my talents, my whole world changed.

I was the "self fulfilling prophecy" in the flesh. When I saw myself as "the fat girl" people saw me as a fat woman. When I changed how I thought about myself, treated myself with respect and projected confidence, people treated me differently. I also became a happier person and nicer to be around. I felt like a successful person and I have become a successful person. Has it been easy to step out of my rut and out of my comfort zone? No, it hasn't. Was it easy to give up my self destructive behavior? No, because I was in a rut and it was easy. Was all of the struggle worth it? YES!!!! Do I still slip up? Yes, I do but I don't let the slip up ruin my whole plan. If I can do it, others can do it too!

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