We spend an awful long time thinking about how we are perceived by others. How do I look today? Did I say something wrong? What if they don’t like me? So on and so on. The list seems endless.
What if you knew the answers? Would you feel better armed with the truth?
The trouble we face is that in real terms amongst all of your peer groups, trusted or not, the truth is in extremely short supply and when you are faced with it the effects can either be liberating or devastating.
Being aware of yourself is the best way to assume what others think of you but this has to be done with a large degree of balance. Over-estimating any personal flaws will deflate you to a point where change (if needed) is hard and under-estimating means that you may miss out on changing a behaviour which will, ultimately, help you improve not for others but for yourself. A perfect example of how you can over- or under-estimate your behaviour is when you meet any of your personal heroes. I was once warned to take care which of your heroes you meet. Some may fall short of your own personal expectations.
I say take care which of your heroes you meet because at the 2013 BVE expo I had the opportunity to meet one of my creative heroes who shall remain nameless. Prior to meeting him I’d built a mental picture of how I imagined that person to be and that picture was of a kind and sensitive person. Nothing could have been further from the truth. When we met he came across as suspicious, awkward and, to be harsh, soulless. This was in stark contrast to the benevolent image of them in my mind. I understand they had limited time but there are ways and means to extricate yourself from any meeting or conversation and as an older person they should have known this. I see this pattern again and again and wonder if it is me or my projected perception of myself based on the behaviour of others. And then I had a revelation. I was not mapping my own behaviour; I was actually mapping the behaviour of others.
Using the term “all human behaviour mapped” it can be said that through the thousand of years of written human history conclusions can be made as well as recommendations. It is the recommendations where the best chance of any improvement should be found. But how to choose which recommendations are suitable for you?
As you will hear me say time and time again on this blog I can only draw from my own experiences and I have been known to be wrong but strangely very rarely. What I will say is that most of us presume and judge but very few of us analyze and question our own thoughts. One way to analyse is to stop, move away from the phone, TV, mobile device or computer right immediately, remove all distractions and think independently (even if you are reading this blog – give yourself a moment).
Allow the space in your head to be filled with whatever social and relationship issues, good or bad, you want to think about right now.
Sometimes we may feel that the world around us is not working towards our best interests but does this matter if it is or not? What matters is this. Are you working towards your best interests?
Once we all learn to analyse ourselves in a non-judgmental and targeted way, removing conclusions we may have about ourselves that do not tally with the way we feel during our high moments of joy and usefulness, maybe, just maybe, we can see beyond the presumptions.