I’m hoping it’s just me. I can be one of those people who are really sensitive and get my feelings hurt easily, but I’ve gotten much better as I’ve gotten older and wiser. Still, every once in a blue moon, that little devil creeps up from behind and plants himself firmly on my shoulder telling me, “She hates you. You are nothing to them. You get on his nerves.” But on the other hand, I don’t want to be a blind fool and always think that it couldn’t be true when maybe it really is. I’m talking about people you encounter every day; people you work with, neighbors, the check-out girl at my neighborhood store. I have been feeling lately like wherever I go, so-and-so is so darn friendly to everyone else, and then I say hello, and………”Oh. Hi.” As in, “It’s just you, and I don’t really feel like saying anything to you, but I don’t want to be rude, so let’s just get this quickly over with so I can go on ignoring you for the rest of the day.” I go on the rest of my day, feeling just under 2cm tall. I judge my every move. I critique my every word. I tell myself I am irritating, I am irrelevant, I am unworthy, and a ditz. BUT–it makes me evaluate myself with criticism that hopefully will be constructive and help me improve, and keep me on my toes. Self-complacency does not lead to self-improvement. Being self-aware does not have to mean being full of myself, but rather watching my p’s and q’s, thinking before I react, choosing diplomatic and tactful ways to handle difficult situations, and being left to simply sit in the background and observe so as to learn something. That seems to make me feel better, and remind myself that I have indeed learned something along the way in life: no matter how many times so-and-so gives you that slightly indignant and pitiful greeting (at least he or she is saying hello at all), keep your chin up, smile, and keep being genuine in your acknowlegement of said person(s) (and I mean genuine: no one is a bad person; everyone can be truly likeable). You just never know when a person could use your smile, and finally realizes that you won’t bite and you don’t have rabies…or at least that you do exist, and you are not such a horrible person. I know this works because I have seen it. It takes no effort, costs nothing, and really does pay off. If it doesn’t, at least they can’t complain about your poor attitude. So, smile and have a nice day, America, I don’t feel so bad, now!