being weird is ok
I was listening to a podcast that brought up an interesting point. How much energy do we waste trying to see ourselves through the eyes of others? We try to posture and preen ourselves to make as appealing a persona as possible. Instead of all that posturing why not just be ourselves and if that person doesn’t like us for who we really are, then it’s their loss. You don’t need people in your life that you have to put on a mask for. Life is hard enough without trying to remember what personality you have to present to each person that you interact with.
We all do this to some extent but to what end? I think really most of us do this thinking we are making ourselves more appealing to those we are interacting with, but maybe we are just coming off like weirdos. It is impossible, without just flat out asking, to know what another person is thinking. Beyond that, how do you really know they are telling you the truth? If a person I already perceive is a weirdo starts asking me what I am thinking about them I am going to tell them whatever it takes to make them go away. Having witnessed a lot of this behavior recently is really off putting. If I did not admit that I was guilty to some extent of this same behavior I would be a complete hypocrite, which I am sure that I am, on many things, just not this behavior anymore (or maybe any less we all lie to ourselves about what a great job we are going with “insert behavior/diet/task here”). I made a pact with myself to be more real around people and deal with the consequences of that rather than try and manipulate the interaction. Since making a concerted effort to really just say what I want to say, not what I think people want to hear, I have seen some interesting results.
By nature I am an introvert. It is not true to say that I don’t “like” people, I just like them in smaller quantities and time frames than some other people might. People are still extremely important to me and I fiercely loyal my friends. To me, close friends are just like family and I love and cherish both groups in much the same way. As an introvert I am a student of observation. Once a scoring system is established for people watching where we can play for points and keep score, I am going pro. It is a pass time that I can enjoy anywhere sitting quietly and just observing. Being in meetings at work, or services at church where I occupy the sounds / projection booth (which makes me invisible), or just watching awkward social interactions between my other nerdy friends is always interesting. I can see a conversation start and just watch the jousting between the parties involved trying to feel each other out and find common ground where the can establish parity, and then being the bragging to establish dominance. Next time you meet a stranger slow down, listen more than you speak, and see if you observe a common thread in the way new acquaintances are formed. First the commonalities be it people, place, or thing and then the quest to establish a hierarchy about that shared interest. There doesn’t have to be a winner you know…
I propose a new paradigm. Introduce yourself “Hi I am Lin, and I am an complete Fanboy for TopGear” and when they start to tell you how much more they know about the show, or whatever you are sharing an interest in, just let them go. Listen and converse without jousting and trying to find an angle where you can share you deep insight into nerdy nonsense. One of my lifelong best friends and I recently went to a hacker conference that we had both always wanted to go to. It was an amazing experience. We had so much fun just hanging out together and meeting new people. This social situation I was explaining up to this point was in TURBO mode. All of the hackers all wanting everyone to look at me look at me I am king of the Nerds! What does it really matter? Why not just enjoy all of the information sharing and events? Anyway all of this is just a long way to say – you can’t really know how you look through someone else’s eyes so quit torturing yourself over it. Be yourself and if people don’t like who that is then you don’t need them in your life.
Everyone has their quirks and we all feel that our own special brand is the strangest most potent form the world has ever seen so I won’t get into that argument here, but I feel if people can love me just the way that I am; then they are special people and deserve that I treat them in a reciprocal manner. The hardest part about becoming a grown up is learning to deal with your discomfort in your own skin. I say becoming, and not being, a grownup because I don’t think I have *made* it yet. The constant process that over time, hopefully, yields comfort in your own skin is painful and takes time. However, I hope the end results is worth the time and effort. Maybe nobody is every fully comfortable with who they are hiding it just becomes easier. Each and every day I assume today is going to be the day they discover I am a fraud and march me right out of my life. I don’t have it all together, I don’t have it all figured out, and maybe that awareness and discomfort is what keeps me on my toes and trying harder. The certain fact of the matter is that I don’t have it all figured out. We all need to spend less time looking down at our personal distraction devices and more time interfacing with people around us. It is ok to have some quiet now and then. I constantly see people walking around with headphones in during supposedly social situations. Is this a ploy to keep the world out, or to keep themselves from dealing with their own thoughts?
Is everyone else out there feeling these same things? Are we all stumbling through life constantly, introspectively, examining the minutia of life , or am I just as weird as I think that I am? Those are the questions I want answers to. Does everyone have an inner monologue constantly running though all of the details of life? If so what does it say, how do you slow it down or shut it off or even just take a break. Mine does not give me a moments rest. There is a never ending list of things to do, places to go, and stuff I want to say or experience. Maybe I am overly introspective and as weird as I feel sometimes. Do we all feel alien from time to time?
As this year winds down and next year starts off like a sprint I want to take more time to spend with my friend and family and enjoy that time that I can be as much “me” as I dare to be with no filter and no judgement. We all need safe spaces like to practice letting our guard down and freeing ourselves of this constant desire to position the most “attractive” versions of ourselves to everyone that we encounter. To break this down to the most basic of aspects – that is the version of ourselves that God sees and he still love us. We should learn to love the real us, to love it enough to let it out and not care if it isn’t the perfectly packaged personality that the world wants it to be. We are called to love other people and if we don’t know how to love ourselves and embrace all of our own quirks and weirdness how do we loves others with all of their hangups. It is a tough dichotomy we are presented with, but it is not insurmountable. Love yourself, love others, overlook the small hangups we all have, and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.