Monday, August 08, 2005

Ignoring the truth

Last week was a fascinating week. It’s so interesting that even with the little bit of description I gave in my last post that you all pretty much nailed the personality of Mrs. NeatN’Natural. I didn’t even blog 1/3rd of our conversations over the week. Not that all “neat n’ natural” people are preoccupied with fulfilling their own need of “belonging” through their children, but it certainly seemed to be the case here.

One thing that was confirmed to me is that I really like to listen to people. I spent the entire week chatting with several different people, and until the very last day none of them really knew anything about me. In fact, when I told them what I did and what my husband did for a living, I think I heard a collective “gasp” and “I had no idea!” I guess I don’t quite fit the stereotype that I should for my profession.

So while I pretty much had an idea as to who these people were upon first impression, the rest of the week confirmed that impression as it unfolded the truth of who they are – or at least with the public personality that each felt comfortable sharing. But it’s not difficult to find out “more.” Like a scientist, I spend a lot of time in conversations asking probing questions, observing behavior, and gathering data. I’m not sure why I gather the data, except as in an effort to build a character study for the novel I always talk about writing but probably never will. And, again, I like to listen to what people want to say.

Not everyone is good at “diagnosing” a personality from the first impression, though. Some people are naturally more perceptive than others. But perception, I think, is a skill that can be developed by spending some time observing behaviors and really listening to what people say. Also, it helps to have a certain amount of empathy.

I do not see, as some might, that diagnosing a situation or a personality as “wrong.” Some people might call that “being judgmental.” Call it what you may, but I have a firm belief that people pretty much let you know who they are if you are willing to listen and see what they are saying.

Our hidden self wants to be known I guess, and it will find it’s way to the surface somehow.

Many people write off odd behaviors or things that are said as “out of character,” and perhaps they shouldn’t. Perhaps the “odd” is that person’s true character. I tend to like “odd.” I do not like “mean” or “violent.”

I don’t really know where I am going with this. I am one of the most “odd” persons I know. Not that there is anything wrong with that.


Mimi said...

what occupational sterotype do you think they thought you fit?

Ch@ndy said...

I am so glad you like odd...because my odd is nearly always bubbling to the surface. See, I am being odd right now.

pjd said...

People like you are the reason I never say anything at all if I can help it. "Better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." That would be my motto if I didn't already have one that I got from TV: "There's nothing worse than a dishwasher full of spotty dishes." As mottos go, it's a pretty easygoing one because as long as you don't have a dishwasher full of spotty dishes, how bad can things really be?

bluesugarpoet said...

Mimi - As far as the occupational stereotype they placed on me, I think it would have to be "stay-at-home home-schooling Mom." This is my best guess because they talked a lot about the evils of public education, and I didn't really say much to defend public ed. Plus, I was toting around all four kids. Not many people are crazy enough to have four kids and work outside of the home too.

PJD - Yes, a dishwasher full of spotty dishes is the worst thing that can happen, and it certainly brings perspective in life. If I had know that motto years ago, I could have spent a lot less time stressing over things - why oh why did you not share this sooner, pjd????

And I am sorry that "people like me" have kept you from sharing your inner thoughts - are you thinking that we will not see the "real" you? I can't imagine what you might say that would keep the world from seeing the real you.

As for me, I tend to say what I think right up front in an effort to scare off those who don't have the stomach or stamina to stick around. I may be the fool, but they are a little bit crazy for hanging around. And I surely end up looking like a fool much of the time, but I can't help but be anything than who I am. If I am going to be a fool, there is no sense in hiding the inevitable truth. I am not afraid of any label that might be put on me, nor will I try to prove or disprove a person's judgment of me. I will remind you, however, that what you read in my blog is more of a personal journal.

What I do know from personal experience is that perceiving a person's intentions is really a matter of personal safety for me. As a child, I was very trusting. I didn't know how to hear what people were really saying and observe a person's body language. I think that my inability to "perceive" put me in a position where I became a victim of a crime at a very young age. Although that might have happened anyway.

So you see, there really is a reason for my foolish behavior after all.