threadwalker: (Amazon Warrior)
[personal profile] threadwalker
Habits... how much of our relationships are built on habits? Do we always pick on the same person? treat certain people with admiration? fear the same people? label the same people as cool? uncool? geek? clown? intellectual? How many of our interactions are based on a history that turns perception into assumption and then expectation.

I think humans are only human. We get used to treating someone a certain way and don't understand a shift in dynamics when it occurs. We see the the kid that always gets picked who later seems to attract mockery. Or how we identify the "smart kid" and even if they are spouting average information, we are inclined to think that they are smart.

At what point do we internalize the external perception placed on us by others? Do we rise and/or fall to fullfill expectations? What do we have to go through to change the internalized belief? What if I don't want to be the class clown? or the "bad influence"?

And once we change on the inside, how do we change the perception of others?

What changes us? An awakening. A life changing event. And how do we recognize it in someone else? Especially since as adults we tend to think we are wiser, but maybe we are really just more set in our ways and less likely to recognize change when it's in our faces.

Suppose the class wimp becomes, like the Karate Kid, an ass-kicking superstar? What if you don't do karate and didn't know there was a tournament, how will you recognize the change? You won't unless you were the one stealing his lunch money and then it will be when your face connects with the ground and you don't remember being thrown to the floor. That would be a clue. And if you were nearby when the lunch money was being taken and see the ass-kicking, that would be a clue. Other than that, your chance to change your perception might only happen if you heard about the tournament or the bully smack-down.

Change is good. We should reinvent ourselves every so often. My dusty memory seems to recall that Ben Franklin (or some other intellectual who was important) indicated that we should have a revolution in the US on some routine basis. (Was it every 100 years?) I don't recall the details with my Swiss cheese memory, but conceptually it's good to shake up expectations and juice the brain into thinking new thoughts and questioning perceptions.

In other words, suck it up, Cupcake. Buy a clue or your face will meet the pavement.

Date: 2011-05-13 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was Thomas Jefferson.

Also...Cupcake's really f'ing in for it if he doesn't adjust.

Date: 2011-05-13 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sounds like someone did not get the memo about the massing Athenian Armies. The rest of us always knew you had it in you and are pleased that you are now standing up and demanding the respect you deserve.

And aren't you the one always telling your children, "No whining"?

Date: 2011-05-14 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm having that problem at work. For the last two years I've had serious problems with focus and memory, and I'm finally coming out of it. However, the men I work with have gotten into the habit of discounting what I say. Which I'm not letting them do anymore.

Date: 2011-05-14 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, that's a rough one. I struggle with the same thing.

Date: 2011-05-14 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it was Jefferson who expected revolution with every generation, but it was a common theme in the early state constitutions in the early days.

When we are kids, our parents pass their strategies and coping methods to us. The schools try to pass on the skills and habits that will make us useful in the workforce. College supposedly gives us a set of ideas to survive and motivate ourselves to solve work, relationships and help us set ourselves a reasonable course for a while. Middle age and kids make us reset our lives again, and keep adjusting for the next 20 years, and then we can contemplate our mortality and retirement. This still leaves plenty of time to change careers every 4 years, have a divorce, or a health scare, and spinkle around some time to bury the previous generation.

Right now our jobs aren't supposed to last longer than 4 years, and that extra chaos has made our home lives less stable. It is certainly not what we 40 and 50 somethings were trained to expect.

When you look at all the major events that get thrown at us, It's a miracle that some people can manage to hang onto each other long enough to raise the kids.

I guess for me, the challenge is to manage change so that it is not disorienting, but still allows the air and light in.

sorry, ranting now.... going back to the garage....

Date: 2011-05-14 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's not a rant, Rat, that's philosophical truth to me!

Date: 2011-05-15 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought I'd get my degree in engineering, work for some construction firm, work my way up the ladder, and then retire from same company. None of my life expectations have been fullfilled. It doesn't make my life UN-fullfilling, but I've had to adapt to being fired, being laid-off, dying parents, insane family members, loss of friends, discovery of better friends, ... and in the end create a value system based on unexpected life experiences and build an emotional tool kit that will help me survive unexpected change.

Date: 2011-05-14 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
From what I've seen, our discomfort with change - our own and others' - contributes as heavily as anything else to relationship issues. As you said, we absolutely get people fixed in our minds as a set of characteristics, and most of us are made very uncomfortable when someone grows and changes. We do this with ourselves too, and again as you observed, often enough that fixed image derives from others' fixed images of ourselves. It takes effort and attention to dissolve those assumptions and ask the open question of who this entity is right now, in this moment - and how do I feel about that?

I've learned from some harsh lessons to make that effort often. I've seen some remarkable transformations for the better, from some of the people I'd have thought least likely to do so. I've also seen the erosion of all kinds of relationships because people refused to allow others to grow and change. It can be very scary to see someone you thought you knew become a very different person, and most people automatically respond from fear and whatever that produces - anger, control, rejection, denial, etc. Stepping back and making that effort to experience this person *now*, as if you had never met him or her before, requires a good bit of courage and self-awareness, though of course it's the only way to deal constructively with change. Sometimes we find that this person in front of us actually isn't someone we'd want to stay connected to - our mutual change has resulted in incompatibility that wasn't there before. Sometimes the opposite happens and someone we had no basis for relationship with becomes compatible. Without the ability to re-assess, we'll never know.

All just my own reflections and agreeing with your observations, I guess - it's a good topic for reflection. I'm sorry your changes are not being met with acceptance and appreciation by people in your life, but clearly they are being embraced by the one who matters most - you.

Date: 2011-05-15 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have had a lot of these same thoughts.

Date: 2011-05-14 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
People change. People's perceptions of someone changes much slower.
I enjoy dropping into a totally unfamiliar group of people and seeing that their perception of me as completely different than, for instance, my family.
Sometimes it takes a stranger to see who you truly are now, post changes.


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