Meet Protective Patty.
Patty wears neutral colours. Her closet and dresser are filled with greys, blacks, and neutrals. She doesn’t want to stand out. She’s meek and quiet. Her head is often down, her shoulders slouched. Eye contact with others is minimal.
She has big round glasses like the little girl in Charlie Brown. Some would describe her as mousy. She just blends in and wants to stay under the radar. Then she can do her own thing and not draw any attention to herself. She’s safer that way.
But what does Protective Patty need?
There is a part of her that wants to be seen and acknowledged. She’s blended in for so long now, that she’d like others to know that she has something to offer that has value. She wants to express herself.
She wants to wear whatever she wants without worry of judgement. She wants to voice her opinion without worry of misinterpretation or taking any flack. She would like to strut her stuff up the bus aisle and have people take notice. In the end, she just wants to be comfortable being herself.
What has Protective Patty done for me?
Thank you Protective Patty for surrounding me with so many thoughtful people. My close friends and colleagues all have hearts of gold. I consider them to be like my family. I’m not one to have a large circle of friends or acquaintances. I’m not a social butterfly (I’m an awkward bee). I keep a small circle that I trust wholeheartedly. They are good, genuine people who are caring and thoughtful.
Protective Patty gave me my husband, my best friend Anna, and Sean, and Nika. She gave me colleagues that I still keep in touch with, even though I’ve been on mat leave for three years now. Nada, Janine, Kim, Nicole, Aynsley, Heather, Lisa, Jennifer, Jane, Ken…it’s a dangerous game to list names. I’m totally going to miss someone by accident. So if you still get text messages from me and little notes to say that I’m thinking of you, you are someone I care about and respect.
The reason I’m surrounded by so many great people is that Protective Patty has kept me away from bullies. If a supervisor bullies or intimidates, and makes decisions in the best interest of himself and not others, she won’t sit quietly. She may get into trouble for it by not going along with the status quo or the established pecking order in a workplace (because she feels that everyone has equal value). She’s not afraid to do what she feels is right. And if she notices that someone says hurtful things about others, she knows to steer clear. Thank you, Patty.
And as much as I appreciate Protective Patty and know that she still has my back, I’m going to ask her to take it easy for a bit. I’m going to put myself out there a little more. It’s scary for me but I’m going to open up a bit in my posts and let others get to know me. Poor Patty, she’s not going to be happy.
And if you’re wondering, What is Lainie even talking about?!?
I’m reading a book right now that is changing the way I see others and myself.
It’s not one I’d ever pick on my own. I was listening to a podcast by Tiffany Han and a creative entrepreneur she was interviewing mentioned it. I thought I would download it and check it out. It’s very interesting!
Don’t get me wrong, there are parts that are a little too whoo-hoo for me (meditation prompts and visualize yourself walking into a garden stuff), but it is really fascinating. Human behaviour is interesting stuff.
So here’s the gist of the book. We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like. There are things we’re ashamed of and try to keep hidden from others. We see ourselves as selfish. We don’t want to come across as know-it-alls. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Maybe we were told this at one point in our lives or learned that a certain trait was negative as we were growing up as kids. Regardless of where it came from, these things that we see as our greatest weaknesses are actually our greatest strengths (if used appropriately). Hence the title of the book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.
Just as an example, Tiffany Han once spoke about growing up as a child and being told that she was too talkative and had too much energy. She began to believe these were negative traits. Yet fast-forward to adulthood, these are her greatest strengths (she has her own podcast series and people love her for her energy and ability to talk).
Anyways, in the book, Debbie talks about how as human beings we possess every trait known to mankind. We all have the capacity to be _______ or _________. But we can’t see who we are. Therefore, we use other people as our mirrors. Maybe you’ve heard that saying before, that if there’s something that you don’t like in others, you’re likely that yourself. Well, it’s actually a thing. As in, it’s based in research.
Debbie says that when we can accept these things that we see as negative in ourselves (she calls them our sub-personalities), we see how they have actually provided us with a gift. Through acceptance, we can move towards being our whole selves. See what I mean about this sounding a bit hokey. Stick with me.
So in Debbie’s book, she guides readers through a visualization activity (I’ll be honest, I laughed when I first read it. Sorry, Debbie. You are a smart lady and totally know your stuff.) She says to close your eyes and picture yourself sitting on a bus filled with people. Who is sitting on the bus with you? Your sub-personalities. All of the things that you’ve tried to push away or hide about yourself. They are parts of you – the parts you see as ugly. Give them fun names. It’s becomes a playful way to talk about something that’s doesn’t feel so nice.
Who wants to talk to you first? Sit with him / her and listen to what they have to say to you. What do they want you to know? What do they need? What have they done for you and are frustrated by?
There’s no way I can do her process justice. If you’re interested and want to learn more, I would recommend reading her book.
Long story short, I tried to do this visualization thing. I closed my eyes (with a big smirk on my face thinking how weird this was) and tried to picture who was on my bus. I was actually surprised by how emotionally I reacted to it. As soon as I closed my eyes, I automatically saw Protective Patty slouched in her seat.
Since then, I keep trying to pay attention to my behaviour and notice what triggers me in others. What does it tell me about myself? My collection of bus people has grown to: Perfectionist Pippi, Stay-At-Home-Sally, Fake Francis, Judgy Judy, Want Drama Donna, and Addiction Ally. See, it’s fun to name them 🙂
I’ll keep writing so you can meet them. I still need to sit down and talk with them a little more. Now I sound whoo-hoo! I think I also need to write about why Protective Patty even came to be… more to come!