I got rid of the mask of ‘positivity’ and found authentic positivity.
The Corona pandemic started in early 2020, so whenever I meet with work colleagues, I usually use the Zoom app. Since we met through Zoom, I wear masks, so I’d like to share my story with you. That mask I’m wearing is called ‘Positive’. I didn’t even know I was wearing it.
I worked with a co-worker who is really honest. From what I can see, the person does not hold back what she wants to say and speaks to the other person at the moment. Since her expression was strict and she did not smile well, I was afraid of her and found it difficult to talk to her.
In a Zoom meeting, we met and I smiled and greeted her.
“Donna, what are you laughing about?” she asked.
I couldn’t even reply because I was afraid of seeing the fair face on the computer screen. Due to this, I began to dislike her.
The team changed after that, and it wasn’t possible to meet her.
During the Zoom meeting last week, I had a chance to look at myself objectively. As always, I greeted my coworkers on the screen and the meeting started. But I noticed that I was looking at the facial expressions of people on the screen. Therefore, I compared myself with others.
‘Elly has a serious look on her face. She seems upset today.’
‘Chris is too negative. The presenter comes up with this awesome idea, but he doesn’t respond. He’s so absorbed in himself.’
‘I smile’, ‘I nod my head passionately’, ‘I present my thoughts directly to the other person’s story.’ I thought I was positive and others were negative.
As a result of observing myself that day, I realized that although I am wearing the mask of ‘positivity,’ my act is essentially just pretending to listen to the other person.
In fact, my colleagues, who only listened quietly, listened more intently than I did. By listening, their opinion was correct.
In my head, I thought the meeting would end faster if I nodded my head moderately and expressed a positive opinion of the other person’s views.
Also, I was afraid of getting into a fight if I had a different opinion from the presenter. Also, I always wore a mask, smiled, because I was concerned that my colleagues would criticize me for being negative.
After the meeting, I got up from my desk and watched TV on the couch in the living room for hours. It makes sense that the meeting is completely gone from my mind as the alcohol evaporates into the air.
That’s because I didn’t focus on the content of the meeting by acting positively.
Since I knew I wore a mask and admitted I was a coward rather than an optimist, I was able to meet the 7 or 8 of my co-workers without prejudice.
Everyone has a different personality, just like everyone has a different look. Now I can listen in meetings. I take notes so I don’t forget what I need to do without caring about how I look. Afterward, I try to put them into action.
Knowing that I’m wearing a mask seems to have taken it off. Recognizing who I was underneath that mask made me feel better.
I’m confident I’ll be able to smile at my candid colleague again when I see her.