The other day I was on my way to lunch with a fellow coworker and we were having a conversation. I went on to say that I thought someone was intimidated by me, and my friend made a comment and said “You do have aggressive body language.” She says aggressive, I just say confident! (Haha)
But it’s true. I’ll be the first to admit it. And then it got me thinking about why I’m that way. There has to be a reason, right? I started thinking about myself the way I think about my students. When I look out across my students on a daily basis and some of them are a particular way, I always think to myself, What happened in their life to make them that way? A lot of things happen to us and those circumstances tend to shape us into who we are, or at least why we are the way we are when it comes to certain situations. So I started thinking about me, and why I have “aggressive” body language. And I can tell you three situations…
- I was a freshman in college. There was a girl on my soccer team who was not afraid of what people said about her, I really admired that because all through high school I felt like I kind of let people walk all over me; I wasn’t a push over, I still knew when to say no. But this teammate of mine in college just had this no-nonsense confidence that I wanted. I remember talking to her about it one night and she said to me, “Kristen, people can be mad at you for telling the truth to them, but they can’t hate you.” So I took that mindset. Granted I had to tame it over the years…
- Fast forward three years to my senior year in college. I was student-teaching. I was up at the front and of the classroom and this class would just not be quiet. It started to get to me. I became so over-whelmed by these fifteen year olds that I started tearing up, I ended up setting the marker down and walking out of the classroom and I went to the bathroom and cried. My cooperating teacher let me sink. And I’m actually thankful for that. She came to find me later on and we talked about what happened and how I could’ve handled it, and should handle it in the future. I’m grateful for that conversation. That was the moment when I told myself I will never let another teenager make me cry ever again.
- A couple weeks later, same class, I saw a girl writing a note. I told her to give it to me and she wouldn’t. I escorted her to the office. While I was out, her friend (the one she was writing the note to) spit in my bottle of Pepsi… and I had no idea. Until after class. A student came up to me and told me.
These moments definitely shaped part of why I am the way I am to this day. It makes me more aware that people go through things in their lives that mold them into who they are. That’s something that crosses my mind on a regular basis in the classroom:
- A student strives for my attention. Why?
- Maybe they don’t get it at home.
- A student didn’t have their assignment completed. Why?
- Maybe their family didn’t have enough money to pay the electric bill and they couldn’t do their work in the dark. (True story).
And you could also look on the positive side of it too:
- This person always has a smile on their face. Why?
- Maybe they have a relationship with the Lord.
- This person is so patient with other people. Why?
- Maybe because they’ve been around people who extended patience toward them.
So I encourage you today, if there’s something about a person you just don’t get, consider the possibilities of why they are the way they are. We all have our reasons. Maybe even take the time to analyze a certain part of your life and figure out why you are the way you are in that area.
P.S. I was not offended at all when I was told I have aggressive body language, (because I know it’s true). I laughed and said, “That’s probably why I’m still single!” She was telling me in love and truth. Thankful for those kind of friendships in my life.