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Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:10 PM

Not caring what people think vs impressing them

Was just wondering, I have heard you shouldn't care too much what people think of you, best to just be yourself. I even had a counselor (though a pretty unorthodox one), tell me it is almost a sin to care too much what people think of you.

But on the other hand, there is always the advice to make a good impression and how important that is.

I know I care way too much what people think, but then hardly ever impress people, except very rarely, a person that may see my unique qualities and appreciate them.

Lately I have been watching a lot of videos of that US poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, and he is very much himself I think, but also he really impresses people by being so likeable, which I think he tries very hard to be likeable.

Anyway, just some passing thoughts.

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Reply Not caring what people think vs impressing them (Original post)
Beringia Oct 2019 OP
Newest Reality Oct 2019 #1
Beringia Oct 2019 #2
Newest Reality Oct 2019 #5
Clash City Rocker Oct 2019 #3
safeinOhio Oct 2019 #4
hunter Oct 2019 #6
Beringia Oct 2019 #7

Response to Beringia (Original post)

Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:16 PM

1. I would think that...

Understanding and practicing compassion for others takes you off your ego a bit and then you don't have to be concerned about what people think of you, but can be caring and considerate for who and what they are without judging. Compassion is also to be had for yourself, as well.

Empathy is a part of that when you are able to relate your experiences to others. When you interact in that framework, it works well.

It is an ancient practice. It can also be enjoyable and it seems to resolve that catch-22. It is healthy psychology and does not require you to condone negative behaviors, either.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:28 PM

2. Thanks, will think about that

I don't know if this applies to what you said, but I remember a job interview, and the lady interviewer said you should give a big smile to every patient that comes to the counter (it was a place where you took patient information before their doctor appointment). She said it doesn't count that you are smiling on the inside, you need to smile on the outside.

Isn't that why con artists do so great, because people buy their schtick.

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Response to Beringia (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:40 PM

5. That's a good example.

Actually, it is a mild double-bind. You MUST look happy and agreeable!

Yes, con artists play on those grounds and know that they are doing that. Sociopaths, (which can equate with con artist) can do it without even batting an eye. They might even have more empathy than ordinary folks, (surprise) because they can pick out people and have a sense for them just by observation--from studies I have read. The difference is, the empathy does not "bother" them at all emotionally. They are not perturbed by it but can utilize the sensitivity to size-up a "victim" .

It is like, for example, parents who might say, "You must love us but we want you to do it on your own accord." How do you "must" love someone sincerely? That is the kind of absurdity involved in dilemmas like that. It can be crazy making.

So, if a job required it, well, if you are flexible and able to resolve the idea of a company who requires your facade, that is a choice. It is far different from where compassion and empathy lead, though, which is a deeper, more genuine sense of yourself and your relationships without needing blinders. Sincere honesty is a path and there may be risks and sometimes, discernment is important when practicing them, too.

Oh, I just ramble sometimes.

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:31 PM

3. As Joss Whedon said, "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck."

There’s a trend with people as they get older; they stop caring so much about pleasing others and they become more genuine. Which is great, unless they’re genuine a$$holes (cough, Trump, cough). In that case, they should at least pretend to be decent human beings, otherwise they will alienate everyone they know.

I typically like people who are bluntly honest, because I know where I stand with those people. But if that crosses to the point of being a jerk, I’ll avoid those people, as will everybody be else who doesn’t need them for some reason.

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Wed Oct 2, 2019, 01:35 PM

4. Took me many years to

find out they weren’t thinking all that much about me or anyone else
Your on the right track.

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Response to Beringia (Original post)

Fri Oct 4, 2019, 04:29 PM

6. I never know if someone is going to hug me or punch me in the face.

I gave up trying to know a long time ago.

That's not the same as "not caring" what people think. Most people are quite happy to tell you what they think, especially if you ask them nicely and then listen sincerely. You can still "care what people think" and decide later if you want to incorporate their thoughts into your own life story or not.

My wife is really good at signaling me when I'm making an ass of myself in public (a sharp kick in the shin will do) but mostly I cope by not talking. Of course then I'm "non-communicative" or something.

In middle and high school I was frequently the target of bullies. Therefore I tried to be invisible. That didn't always work so I quit high school.

In my second year of college I made an effort to be outspoken. That didn't work out any better than invisibility; I was "asked" to take time outs from college twice for all the trouble that caused.

The first time I was asked to take time off was for fighting with a teaching assistant. (Okay, mostly for that. There were other reasons as well.) I recall I was pretty calm in that argument, but he was yelling at me, and then he was throwing things at me, and an overhead projector got broken...

My next stab at college didn't turn out any better. Two strikes. The only reason I was accepted back to college for a third try was by the kindness of a geology professor who thought I still had some potential in spite of my glaring flaws.

I did manage to graduate. It only took nine years, but one of the things I'm still ashamed of is how many senior thesis advisers I burned through.

My parents had a rough time with me, my mentors had rough times with me, my wife has had rough times with me, mental health professionals have had rough times with me. I'm not proud of it.

I don't think most people have to try very hard to be likable. Most people are inherently good natured and likable, even those you might have caught at a bad moment. (And most likable people are not sociopaths trying to get on your good side for nefarious reasons. Paranoia is something I have trouble with, especially "off my meds..." )

Dealing in a positive way with the aspects of yourself that make you unlikable is the hard part of this journey, especially if you are obsessive (like me) and start hammering on yourself for all the unlikable things you've ever done; forging all this toxic metal into nightmares and chains that hold you back.

You can't really walk away from it, it's part of you, so it's not so simple as "forgiving yourself," or worse, some kind of religious confession and absolution. At least that's how it is for me. If I ever went down that rabbit hole I might blame myself for my insufficient faith and feel even worse...

Mostly I tell stories of my misadventures. They don't have to be great stories, they just help me work things out in my own mind.

I also do visual arts, mixes of paint and photography, but that shit often scares me. Hello inner demons! My parents are artists. Their art has some kind of positive impact on people. My art frequently looks like I created it while locked up in psych ward. (I've actually done some art in a locked psych ward...)

So maybe it's good to examine your misadventures and figure our how you might be a more likable person next time in similar situations, but not after waking up from a nightmare at two o'clock in the morning and obsessing until dawn.

I take psych meds to avoid that two o'clock in the morning nightmares. I hope you find a path that works for you. Poetry and poets, especially Juan Felipe Herrera, could be just what you need, but don't take my word for it! This is your thread. Feel free to kick me in the shins if I'm being an ass. I'm used to it.

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Response to hunter (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 21, 2019, 04:45 PM

7. Thanks for sharing

I don't have nearly the troublesome side that you describe, though I do have different parts of my personality, and some collide. Maybe that makes things harder, as opposed to a person where everything aligns well. My father once said to me, something like, you just like being yourself don't you? And I said of course, why would I want to be someone else? I still don't know what he was getting at, except maybe that many people including him take on a persona to be more likeable, like tell jokes, or flatter people which he did a lot.

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