I am by no means a mind reader, but I imagine that people judge me without getting to know me. I think most of us are predisposed to prejudice based on superficial perceptions. No one can truly gaze into another person’s soul and see the depth of all that is hidden within the infinitely complex layers inside. We can only see what a person projects outward with our most basic senses, and maybe a little something extra for those of us attuned to our intuition.
I imagine (more like dread, but have a feeling that it’s true) that people see my worst qualities first. Although I don’t mean to be, I’ve been told that I am difficult to approach and intimidating. I am a perfectionist, and I think that plagues me in terms of social networking (and I mean the physical social scene, not the virtual). I read an article recently that explained this phenomenon. People feel like they can relate to people when they see that they are flawed and make mistakes, which makes them more human, evokes sympathy/empathy and therefore makes them more likeable. I, like many perfectionists, have always tried to overcome or hide my flaws, always wanted to excel in all aspects of my life – not to rub anyone’s nose in it or appear better than anyone, but simply to try to be the best version of myself. I thought that that is what would make me more likeable and attract positive attention.
In my teenage years (cringe, glad that’s over!), I was probably seen as a goody-two shoes/nerd/teacher’s pet. Then in college/grad school, I was mostly a loner/outcast. I placed the most emphasis on my studies, most likely due to the fact that I was brainwashed by my parents that school should be number one. And I know where they were coming from, and that they always wanted the best for me. I appreciate all the values they instilled in me, and I love them very much. But I think a lot of people (in my own culture and in America) miss the big picture. We study hard, then work hard, to make money for our boss and the industry we are working in. We spend such a big proportion of our time working to make just enough to survive and save a bit for a rainy day, and are too tired at the end of the day/week for any real, good-quality downtime. And life takes on such a whirlwind pace that we barely have enough time to pause and look around us, or self-reflect, or enjoy the moment.
In the end, what do I want to say? That reputations are only a scratch on the surface. Who we are on the inside is usually a very private, vulnerable self, and it takes time and effort to project that true self (in most cases, only a handful of special people will go the effort and get that opportunity). We should stop and think, and reevaluate what we are doing and why, and if it’s worth it. We inherently need to have a meaning and purpose to our life in order to continue wanting to live. Feeling needed and useful inspires us to move forward. That’s what is important, and that, kiddies, is not really taught in school.