February 26, 2018

Back in college, I was approached by a guy who'd been sitting near me and thought I looked melancholy. He wanted to paint me. Because I looked melancholy. So, first of all, RUDE. He also wanted to take me to a spot in the woods to do so. Luckily, he ended up being legit with a seriously painterly name and, in the end, I wasn't murdered but, indeed, painted! And now, somewhere out there, is a painting people will see of me and only see a classy gal reading in the woods and not the one who leans up against heaters and melts her coat without even noticing because three whiskeys.


You can have such a clear idea of how people SURELY see you, only to find that what they think isn't even close to that. It's not just the impression we make, but how we relate to people. So often, for example, people get mad and act passive aggressively towards someone in a misguided effort to get them to change their behavior, when what they really need is compassion. Not only do they probably not know why that person is mad, but they also probably don't really care to listen to what they have to say because they are witnessing that person acting a FOOL. So, despite our best intentions, so long as everyone on this planet lacks some level of maturity and self-actualization, misunderstanding one another is simply inevitable.

As soon as you start trying to be something that isn't really happening naturally, as soon as you start forcing it, it removes much of the authenticity. People can tell. I don't mean like someone working to be skilled at a hobby or someone who is trying out a lifestyle change. OK wait. What I'm trying to say is to stop trying to PROVE we are what we want people to see us as. Just do what feels good!

Now I can get mad or act like a bubbly maniac to try to make sure no one ever thinks I look melancholy again, but I think that might look a little psycho and it would certainly be counterproductive. My friends and family know when I'm sad, but I am also not seen as melancholy, I believe, because I'm just very much not! When I am melancholy, something is wrong. If I were fixating on it, I'd be overanalyzing everything and I probably WOULD be pretty brooding.

In the same vein, people don't want to be told what to do and doing so might give them the impression that you are obnoxious! Tell someone to be a vegetarian and they will be defensive and further from ever considering it. Everyone comes to their beliefs in their own way and their own time. That is something that must be respected. I love animals, but I ate them until I saw some things. Some of it sits with me when I try to sleep sometimes and yet I still eat fish on occasion. Convictions are earned from individual experience and, even then, they can be hard to live by.

Shaming someone into doing what you think they ought to only deteriorates their trust in you. Want them to do something? Don't tell them that.

I have watched loved ones with alcoholism get the cold shoulder from those they love and feel worse for it. Asking WHY someone is the way they are isn't as potent as asking why ARE they like that? (Another Tim Ferriss podcast moment of perfection with Dr. Gabor Mate). But that is a whole separate conversation. Still, the impression made is important and very miscommunicated!

So, my solution, for me, is to just do what I like and build my community based on who fits around that. It all just kind of comes together, the older we get, doesn't it? We should all chill about the future. Is that even possible? Anyway, take care of yourself and everything will work out!

I listened to a TED talk about a guy who survived a plane crash. He said, the moment he heard 'Brace for impact,' he, of course, though of everything he had to lose, everything he'd waited to enjoy. We are lucky to be here! We who have our health are luckiest of all. It can take a really heavy experience to learn that and, as my mom says, you can't put an old head on young shoulders. Hopefully, we all get there, eventually. No one inspires me more than people who are so clearly living their best lives. You can just see it in them and it's magnetic. So, act naturally and do what feels good! I mean, or don't. I won't tell you what to do!


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