I am sure you have heard of body dysmorphia, where someone thinks that their body is way fatter than it actually is? I think that some of us suffer from personality dysmorphia (?) where we think that the way that we are acting (and particularly communicating with others) way nicer than we actually are.
What I mean by that, is that the way we intend (consciously though, not subconsciously) to come across is often not how we actually come across. Has your ‘tone’ ever got you into trouble? It’s not the actual words I am talking about, it is the way that we say them.
This Summer was a special one for our family. The three siblings and our families spent way longer time than usual at my mum’s place in Wanaka. Her house was on the market, and has since been (conditionally) sold. 20 years of parties, boyfriends, babies and dramas were experienced in the extraordinary property, with the most amazing lake view.
My brother remarked that at Christmas, as Kiwis and Aussies, we certainly do put ourselves under a pressure cooker situation....
...with family congregating in often very confined and very isolated accommodation. Thankfully we had breathing space, even with 12 bodies in the house, and we also had a pretty harmonious time together.
I have mentioned before, that I have an identical twin. Apart from the obvious fact that I have been lucky enough to grow up with someone beside me for everything from first day of school, to leaving home, it also comes in handy for sharing clothes, trialing hair styles and seeing how a few less (or extra) kilos look! Can you imagine what it is like to see (and hear) yourself? One day I will write the book on being a twin, and there will be a special chapter on being married to a twin!
Back to the ‘being a cow’ bit. Now that Mum is selling up, and moving into somewhere smaller, there is some furniture that needs a good home, and Geoff and I have been considering taking the (beautiful!) dining suite. Geoff is more of a modern man, and was taking some time to ‘come around to the idea’ which is of course totally understandable. Whereas I thought that I was being completely reasonable with my communication around the subject, my sis Josie had another take on it.
“Do you know how you sounded when you were talking to Geoff about the furniture Laurel?” She asked? “Like a right cow! And the horrid thing is, I could hear myself in you.” She then mimicked what I said (and because she sounds almost identical to me, that wasn’t hard), and I very quickly got the picture.
We agreed to observe each other for the rest of our holiday and how we were communicating with our loved ones. I swear it was the most revealing exercise, and one which has very brutally got me to see how my tone gets me into trouble.
Most of us don’t have an identical twin to try this out with, but have a think about how you come across in your tone. Another interesting opportunity is when you are ranting about something and one of your kids just happens to have been recording on their device at the same time! Don’t subscribe topersonality dysmorphia, and be mindful of how you relate to others, especially those poor punch bags who happen to be our nearest and dearest!