We always get clues from others about how we come across. When the input is consistently repeated by different people under different circumstances, then that input becomes an important clue to help us understand self, if we choose to. When we get clues from people around us about ourselves, we sometimes resist it and blame them for not being able to fully understand us. It is not about them being right or not. The important thing is getting the clue when the input comes from different people at different times in a consistent fashion. It definitely shows that “my” actions and statements give that impression to so many people. Whether we accept the input or not, it does not change the fact that our behavior is bringing out that reaction. However, accepting it makes us more aware of self, which helps one grow as a person.
It is hard for a person to see self, let alone accept self. Others can help one see self better just like a reflection help one get a glimpse of self, even if the reflection is a bit distorted. One wants to focus more on patterns that get repeated often. Even if the reflection is not really you , but it might be enough of a clue to help understand self. This is why it is best not to depend on one person as that person might have a distorted view.
People always give us clues, but many times we do not pay attention. For example, if one keeps getting hints from others of being stubborn, and rarely do others hint about that person being flexible, then that person might be stubborn. However, if someone during a tough negotiation calls him stubborn, it might be a negotiation tactic to get more flexibility from that person. Most people will give you perceptions but sometimes conflicting ideas about how you come across, so take everything you see or hear with a grain of salt. A good approach is to look for repetitive patterns.
There are people you want to listen to a bit more carefully than others. These are your confidants who are close to you and unconditionally want what is best for you. They also must have the wisdom and self acceptance that allows them to be more “seeing” if you will, and less judgmental. These people are very rare. Coaches, mentors, teachers, long time friends, and closest relatives might be able to play that role.
Be careful: Manipulators especially what I call “Cunning Deceiptful Manipulators” will try to put you down for their personal gains, pretending to give you honest advice to help you. These are not the people you want to take their word to heart. Even if you thought they were right in their judgment,. They are there to hurt you and the best thing is to stay away from them and not give them a chance to judge you. Try to use statements like “Do not make this about me…” or ” I am not here to hear your opinion of me, I want this problem solved….” etc. Even if you think you can take it, do not take feedback from these sharks. (To learn more about the personality I am talking about, please click here to see this video on youtube).
Luckily most people are not cunning, and it is OK to observe and listen to their clues when interacting with you. There are some tips so not to get tied up in ego and blinded from learning about self during conversations. One of them is to try to distant yourself from the situation as if the input is about someone else not you. A third party. This helps one be more objective and tolerant to the input. Another tip is to listen and not rush into responding or defending. This is hard but worth it. Just listen, take a deep breath and say “tell me more…” instead of rushing into conclusions or getting emotional. It is difficult but doable…most of the time 🙂
It is puzzling when one hears a person, who everybody considers unfair, call herself “fair.” We all know people who consider themselves caring, but most of the people around them think of them as selfish. It is not that people are liars, but people many times are not self aware, and they have their own perception of self which might be totally opposite to how others perceive them.
Knowing self might be difficult, but the other alternative is ignorance…