Shifting Perspectives: Embracing the Lion-Mouse Within

A friend told me about a time when she was in a typical work self-improvement seminar, meant to help build team spirit. One exercise involved choosing an image that represented each team member. Each individual would choose one for themselves, and then one for all the other team members, collectively. When it came to her, she chose a lion; her mates chose a mouse.

Such different and seemingly opposite images! One of them must be false … right? Not necessarily so.
There’s a psychological disorder called dysmorphia. It happens when we focus on some physical aspect of our bodies that we see as imperfect, but that other people see as normal. It might sound like my friend was suffering from this in her vastly different view of herself compared to how others see her, but I don’t think so.

If she were the kind of person who hates ‘showing off’, or who quietly gets things done without a fuss … In other words, if she were leaning towards introversion, then much of what she accomplishes may not be noticed by her colleagues.

She may truly be a lion, but appear to the world as a mouse, because she has unconsciously hidden herself to such an expert degree that what the world sees is a mouse.

I’m telling you this story because I relate: I’m an introvert; I hate showing off (and label it negatively); I ‘get on with’ things and don’t take time to tell others. In my opinion, if they don’t notice on their own, they don’t know what they’re missing.

Secretly, though, sometimes I worry: I worry that what I show may not be accepted; that I may do or say something wrong; that I may be humiliated in public. So I play it safe, and keep quiet until I am sure that what I have to show or say is going to be accepted.

Meanwhile, the extrovert has shown all – mistakes, idiotic thoughts, and also brilliant ones.

My friend, it turns out, is both a lion and mouse, depending on perspective. Many of us are.

Quote of the Week

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him.

– Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse


Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality


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