A Woman of Action
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Love in the Third Degree.
I’ve discovered something new about myself. I’m a woman of action.
Some people will think it’s funny that I’ve “discovered” this, but I suppose it goes back to my long-held beliefs about what I see as worthy and to be aspired to. It is, as usual, through observing other people that I am able to hold up that mirror for myself. It’s the way that I learn—in relationships both insignificant and extremely important, I find traits in the other person that help me to learn more about myself and aid in my own transformation.
Possibly because I grew up being told how deficient I was and later as an adult put myself into relationships where I was often told how deficient I was, I always thought that everyone else was more confident, more together, more able than I was.
Not until my late 30’s did I start to see the cracks in the foundations of people around me. I will never forget the well-known, well-respected, tough-as-nails New York editor who was tired enough on one occasion and just drunk enough that I saw behind her polished façade to the insecure little girl that she was. That night was a turning point for me and I began to look at the people who came across as the most self-assured and in the most public way, and I was astounded at the pretense.
I always thought that these paragons of confidence and gregarious personality were so successful at something I valued but didn’t have—the confidence to move among others certain of who I am and what I’m worth. In recent months, regarding a number of acquaintances who’ve graced my life with the promise of a lesson, I’ve been able to delve underneath the layers of public personality and see what’s really there…and it’s more often than not loneliness, insecurity, disillusionment, despair, isolation, dysfunction, and failure all cleverly disguised as “I know exactly what I’m doing” and “Look at the pretty image I display.”
An exquisitely rendered mask for so many people who hide who they really are.
Funny that seeing the flaws in “perfect people” would be such a good thing for me. That feels wrong until I remind myself that it’s through such relationships that I figure myself out. I’ve read that tabloid TV’s appeal to the masses is the premise that there are more screwed-up people in the world than you and they’re a lot worse screwed-up, so you can feel good about yourself for not being as screwed-up. That almost reeks of feeling better about yourself by bringing others down.
But it isn’t the same. This is about realizing the clay feet of the kind of people I idolized in my upbringing and understanding that I am made of something much stronger.
I have a gift for seeing the potential in other people. It’s both a gift and a curse. A gift for obvious reasons. A curse because it hurts to see people with such great potential throw it away and I want to help them make it happen. But not everyone is a person of action.
People will talk about changing their lives for something better, talk about wanting control of their destinies and being in charge of their futures, talk about making a difference and going after what they want in life. Most people are all talk and no action.
Oh, they can give some great speeches about the changes they want to make in their lives…and then go home and watch TV for six hours while they have a few beers and fall asleep on the sofa. They talk about the Law of Attraction and bringing great stuff to them but sit by passively, not really knowing or believing or doing. They talk, talk, talk, and never do anything.
So I discovered myself in a different light. I have wanted to make changes. I have made many, and continue to make more. I take action to make things happen, even when sometimes it’s the wrong action and something I have to learn from. Not that everyone sees the actions, and not that even I always acknowledge the actions, but I don’t just talk about making changes.
I am a woman of action.