How Do You Describe Yourself?
When people are asked what they fear most in dating again later in life, one of the first concerns is what to say about themselves with someone new. How do we tell our story in a way that is both accurate and fascinating?
“Oh,” you may say, “My life’s just not that interesting.”
My response: “It’s all about taking inventory of your experiences.”
Let’s go back a few years — before you might have married, embarked on a career, become a parent, or moved away from the place you were born.
Ask yourself these questions about that time:
- How would you have described your “then” personality?
- What kind of image did you have of yourself?
- What were your hopes and dreams?
- What challenges did you face?
- Were your values clearly developed?
Once you have the answers to those questions, reflect on what you have lived through in your life to take you from then to now. The perspective we gain makes for our unique, distinctive journeys. And it’s your take on that journey you share with a date or a new friend or a new work colleague.
Do you believe you are the same person today you were 30 years ago?
Ever been to a class reunion where a former classmate says to you: “You haven’t changed at all.” Often, the statement refers to our physical appearance — which most assuredly does change over time! So, while the person who said those words may be attempting to compliment us, what they can’t speak to is how the passage of time has changed us on the inside.
Take inventory of how you might be different from 30 years or longer ago:
- Personality traits. Have you gone from being an introvert to an extrovert? To being more or less of a risk taker? Are you more confident? Have you become a leader? Have you developed a quirky sense of humor? Do you approach tasks differently?
- Are family activities of utmost importance? Do you spend most of your time working? Have you fallen in love with a geographic area where you are committed to living? Do you have a favorite hobby or interest that you are dedicated to pursuing?
- Decision-making. Do you see an identifiable pattern in your outlook and the method you use to decide between alternatives? How do you view the choices you have made in your life? What have you learned about yourself?
- Emotional Intelligence. How do you handle challenge, stress, disappointment, grief? How do you cultivate and maintain friendships? Have you had life events that have caused you to pivot or made you more compassionate and empathetic?
Why we ALL change
Certain experiences in life are unavoidable. We all will be presented with them: career roadblocks, personal and business failures, health scares, loss of people we love, and other unforeseen shocks to our system. To say they don’t happen is naïve; to say we aren’t altered is naïve.
With the navigation of each new unknown, we are presented with life lessons. We shed the old skin and put on new.
To the outside world, it may look like we are the same. But we know what we’ve been through and how it’s required a new outlook, a new approach, a new belief system.
As the late comedian George Carlin so aptly put it: “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
What to say to a new date about yourself
You get to write your own story. You, and only you, decide how much to reveal and how much to hold close.
What you say when you meet someone new only needs to meet this litmus test: it must be authentic, it must be memorable, it must be self-protective. Tell the truth, make it compelling, and take care of your own reality.
So, give it some thought, write it down, and feel proud of the genuine you!
Please email me with your thoughts and questions at Kate@KateSomerset.com.