Tuesday, 7 January 2014

who we are

Me: grumpy and mean or just fabulous ;-)
There seems to me to be a bit of a clash, quite often, between who we feel we are, and who others think we are.

When I was young, my life as others imagined it seemed much more exciting, interesting, and daring, than my life as I experienced it.  And it seemed rather unfair that I got the flack for the vivid imaginations of others.  Still, I'd rather be hung for a sheep than a lamb, so it made me step up and live (although I didn't do that).

Now I have to deal with my some people's view of me, that I'll be quick to anger, and quick to judge (no doubt forged from knowing teenage me), and that they must walk on egg shells around me.  I don't recognise the person they think I am, but there must be something in it, if only created out of the belief, because what people expect of others influences how people behave. I cannot be the only person who gets mad at someone calling them grumpy. 

I've seen relationships fail because of both parties reading intention into the others action that may not have even been there. It doesn't matter though, in the end, because perception becomes reality.

I'll admit that I probably don't say what I'm going through in a way that people want to listen to, so I do understand why people might make up their own stories, but it hurts that people judge me harshly.  I feel like they are not
interested in what I'm like really, and I don't really expect everyone to be interested, but there are those, especially those close to me, that it really hurts if they can't be bothered to get to know me. I'm not sure I would want to know the kind of person they think I am.

To be honest with you, dealing with these ideas about what I'm like, which just don't seem to apply to me, is hard work, and emotionally exhausting, and I just don't want to play any more.  I don't know what I'm doing that's feeding these myths, but I suppose their constant presence upsets me, and makes me snappy.  I need to let myself shine through, somehow, and avoid doing the same thing to others.

Have you heard of the Johari Window?

This is an idea, that you can get to know yourself a bit better.  You can move the lines inside the window by revealing more to others than you do at the moment, and by listening to what others have to say about you.  According to this theory, my evil witchiness would be in my blind spot (well, the worst of it would anyway).  If you fancy giving it a go, you can do here.

Pic from Wikipedia article on the
Johari Window (here)
Do you know what the Johari Window theory reminds me of?  That '70s idea where one poor soul would sit on a stool in the middle of a circle of their peers, to have everyone tell them what they think of them.

I don't see what is useful in it.  We can all come up with things to say about people if we want to get judgey, but why do it?  Why not be pleasant, and keep our negative opinions to ourselves?  Half the time they're wrong anyway, and the other half, there's stuff we don't know about which is causing them.  What's wrong with not saying anything, if we have nothing nice to say?

I find it interesting now that I write this blog, obviously the me that I paint in this blog is not exactly the real me.  There is an element of storytelling, of glossing over the dull bits. So now sometimes I'll be talking to someone and they'll say something about what I'm like based on the blog, and it stops me.  Firstly I'm always amazed when someone actually remembers what I've said!  But then also, I'm surprised that they have believed it.  The me that I paint here is nearly the real me, so the things you know about me are nearly right, and that's a little odd.  I guess it is that way for all of us now, posting status updates on Facebook or Twitter, or posting daily photos on Instagram.  People know more about our lives, but it's not quite true... nearly, but not quite.

There's also a whole other issue around this.  I think most people still feel like the people they were at around 25, and yet their body is aging, and often fattening around them.  This jar between how we think we should look and how we do look can cause misery, and if you look at the photos that proliferate on Facebook and Instagram, you'll notice that a lot of women are painting themselves out of their own lives because of how they look.  Let's try not to.  I'm sure you have friends who are fat, or have bad hair, but that's not what you judge them on, is it?  

Let's try to be who we know ourselves to be, and to accept that others may see us differently, and indeed that we might not like pictures of ourselves, but they show us living, and living is great.

Do you find that people's idea of who you are jars with who you think you are?  Does it cause you problems?  Does it inspire you?

Do you look like you think you should?  Are you getting in pictures anyway?

This post was  inspired by Fat Mum Slim's list of 50 things to blog about.  You'll find my other posts inspired by that list 
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