Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Others See

We all project an image.  An image of ourself that we want the world to see.  We know we'll be judged, so why not choose the terms?

I wonder how successful this is.  I wonder how often others see us as we want them to.

We walk into a new situation.  We're a little nervous.  Never been here before.  Never done this before.  But we don't want anyone to see that we're nervous, so we project confidence.  Does it work?

We are asked a difficult question.  One that we don't really want to answer.  The answer might not be okay, or we just might not want to share the information with this person.  So we dodge the question.  We redirect.  We move on as if it doesn't matter, as if it's trivial and not worth discussing.  Does it work?

Our life is falling apart.  It's the worst day we can remember having.  Everything seems to be going wrong.  Our heart is breaking.  But we don't want anyone to know so we pretend that all is well.  We hold it all together in public and do our falling apart in private.  We try to fool everyone into believing that we're fine.  Does it work?

And what if it does?  What if no one takes the time to push beyond the exterior we present to find out how we really are, who we really are?  What then?

And what if our carefully crafted exterior is so successful that we start to fool ourself?

What's so wrong with being who we really are, even when it's not what others want to see?  What's so wrong with being vulnerable and needing help?  What's so wrong with being unsure?

What's so wrong with being us?


Dona said...

I try not to think about what's wrong with being us because I am too busy trying to be what I think other people think I should be. Which was sort of the point of your post.

K and D Roylance said...

That's what getting to really know a person is all about....understanding if what we're seeing today is real or just a projection. Sometimes it takes a long time to get any good at "reading" someone (and often, as you said, we go to great lengths to make it hard for others to read us) I think we just keep hoping that others will hang in there, find us, and accept us with all the faults and even help us see our own strengths.

Kazzy said...

As I revealed at book club last month, I have had my struggles with this with my family. But my question would be, should we always be our REAL selves, really? My real self would go to work with bed head and, some days, not want to talk to anyone. Isn't there an in-between where we project someone we would like to be? I believe even those that love me most don't know the deepest realest me. I don't know how intentional it is, but I like to keep some of me for myself.

I am with you on dropping the alter ego though.

Bonnie said...

I love reading blogs but have no time, until today, which I took off to spring clean my brain. "I see you," as they said in Avatar. I find that I restrain parts of myself not because I'm afraid what people are going to think, but because I'm sick of talking about it. "No, I don't eat margarine or give my kids immunizations, yes, I avoid chemicals but I'm not afraid of germs." It's a distraction, because people are instantly sure that your unusual choice is an affront to them, and have to go into long explanations of why they do things differently, and then forever after write you off because they disagree with you on this point. It makes one less effective if too much is known. It's a distraction. It threatens people. Did I judge anyone? No, but it doesn't matter. So I just smile.

MaggieJo said...

I was telling someone the other day that I just love you and the reason is that you are a honest person. I love honest people, the ones who say, here I am, take it or leave it. I am attracted to them.

Jessica Grosland said...

I like how you purposefully abused grammar to your own ends. Saying "ourSELF" instead of "ourSELVES" and things like "our HEART IS breaking" instead of "our HEARTS ARE breaking." You made it a collective identity, a group of people who is one organism. It's kinda cool.

(P.S. I don't think Dad would have noticed that.)