I’m a great people person. I’ve almost always been able to drum up conversation with at least one person in a group. I have run into problems conveying how I actually felt and behaved contrary to my true self in order to hold someone’s attention or to gain favor. I believe most people do this to some degree. I would rather not be tempted to do this so automatically. How in the world does a person commit them self to them self?
I am compelled in the opposite direction. “Contrary” is among the nicest words some folks would use to describe me. Over the years it has made me unpopular, though now the popular trends and actual study of group dynamics supports my style and personality as having a place in society.
I didn’t want to get into this when I started writing, but it occurs to me I should expand on that: working as a freelance technologist, valuing an accurate depiction of reality over politeness has been a career boon. People literally pay me to tell them the truth, often because someone else had given them lip service but not delivered. And the root issue with those incidents was that someone had to give them bad news.
I don’t like giving people bad news. I am not unfeeling. But I am not particularly torn up about it, either. I subscribe to the adage, “nothing is as bad or as good as it seems”. And taking the long-er view, telling someone the truth of a matter is more important that trying to make them happy. Happiness isn’t really something we can assign to others, so it doesn’t even make sense to consider it.
Now I know a lot of this stuff has to do with how we are taught to relate to each other as children. I wasn’t taught to be this way, I actually worked towards it (hopefully I did it rationally, but that seems like an absurd claim ^_^), because I looked at how the adults around me communicated so violently and without reason, and I group that with being nice to people. Sounds drastic, and I do understand nuance and different communication styles, but I believe it comes down to being accountable for how we speak and what we talk about, and by changing that for others, without consent, leads to unhealthy situations.
I am not sure. Overcoming trauma, while really sucky, comes fairly quickly for me. As soon as someone brings it up with me, I undergo the transformation from wounded to being healed, and then within a few years I’ve internalized the state of being. With this particular issue, someone brought to my attention that when I asked for help as a child, it wasn’t merely that I wouldn’t receive, that was actually the best case scenario; the adults and caregivers in my life were often actively sabotaging it. That was gut-retching-via-the-heart-and-brain, but after I had that data, that hidden, un-assessed set of memories, I felt being aware of my future interactions became easier.
But I’ve always been contrary, so perhaps I just got a good luck of the cosmic draw, and I was able to work it really well.
I recommend reading everything ever written by Malcolm Gladwell. I describe my outlook on life as Gladwellien, which is to say finding the non-obvious truths of reality by looking at large sets of data about how humans act. It has helped me tremendously.