June is a time for moving on. Graduations are in full swing and young people are looking forward to starting the next segment of their lives. This makes me reflect back on the time I graduated from high school and the tears and fears we shared as friends parted, perhaps for the last time. We were so excited to move on and yet we didn’t quite want to leave all that we knew and felt comfortable with behind. Those who really knew me, saw past my appearance and knew me for who I really was. Others, who hadn’t bothered to get to know me, left with their impressions of me as well. But the next step that awaited each of us, was a fresh start. We would all meet people, perhaps for the first time, who hadn’t known us since Kindergarten.
What would these new people think of me? What would be their first impression? These were the thoughts that went through my head at the time, and recently, I was talking to my son about the very same thing. I told him that first impressions will be based off of your physical appearance. The only thing that is different today is that, perhaps with social media, some of us get to know each other before we actually see each other. Impressions can be formed before we meet these days. Yet when we do meet, we try to align the physical appearance that is presented before us with what we may already know about that person. Sometimes, a person may be disappointed in your appearance. They may have simply expected something else and that is something that we need to accept and then put aside.
When people meet me, my impression of their first impression is . . . she’s short. Short people are at a disadvantage, people don’t see eye to eye with us. (That’s funny.) But really, I feel that when people meet short people they think, she’s not very intelligent or capable and perhaps, not worth knowing. I am sure other people feel that way too, whether if it is because of their weight, the color of their skin, or their facial features that may not be what society considers beautiful or handsome. Everyone fears that they will be judged by how they look. Even the beautiful people, they don’t want the world to judge them by their looks alone. Along with good looks comes the impression that they think they are better than the rest of us aesthetically challenged or impaired people. The rest of us might decide from the start that we aren’t going to be friends with people who think they are better than us. First impressions. First miss-impressions.
So as you start the rest of your life, remember that there are second impressions. That is where you let people know who you really are. When they get to know who you really are, they forget their first impression of you. Take the summer to think about how you want people to “see” you. Each person has many facets to their personality. Show the ones that you want people to see. Build your self-confidence by understanding that first impressions don’t have to be lasting impressions. The lasting impression is up to you.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy