Can other people see us more realistically than we see ourselves? On different occasions have people mixed you up with someone else? Do they say there’s someone out there who looks just like you? Or someone who talks and acts just like you. When you see the other person, there’s a slight resemblance, but it’s not the you-you know. The other person is not as attractive or is more attractive than you think you are. Their conversation is waaaay more outlandish than you think yours is.
After a movie, does someone equate you with the antagonist or the protagonist. Later, do others report the same thing? Does that stump you? You thought the protagonist was too syrupy sweet and naive for her position in life and you thought the antagonist was an insulting bitch.
Ideally, people want to be perceived for who they are and not for how they appear to be. Unfortunately, how you appear is the first and only thing that indiscriminate people see.
Most of the time, I want to be decent. If I hear something negative about me, I want to know where that came from. There are three things I reflect on when I hear an observation contrary to my self-perceived persona:
1. what did I say?
2. how did I look (body language)?
3. and considering the source, do I care?
I try to watch my tone, consider my facial expressions and my stance. I also consider who I’m around at the time. Certain people are just looking for mess and unwittingly we give them grist for the mill.
Our emotions as reflected in our speech may impart more depth to the observer than we actually feel at the time. If we let our words run away with our tongues those words can be mistaken for anger, dismay, and unprofessionalism.
During the recent Chicago mayoral campaign, former U.S. Senator, Carol Moseley Braun, the first black female senator and a leading mayoral candidate, let her emotions get the best of her. During a community forum and debate, she reminded the public that a fellow female opponent, Patricia Watkins, had been a crack addict in her youth. What a low blow!
Though Senator Moseley Braun apologized, a well-known civic group claimed her outburst was the reason they declined to endorse her election.
There is a built in mechanism most of us have that knows when we’re about to go too far. STOP! Sometimes it’s in what you DON’T say. Sometimes it’s in a look.
PART TWO TOMORROW!