I love Mad Men and I am excited for whenever they get their negotiations over with and get a new season going. Anyway, I came across this quote from the great Don Draper, "People tell you who they are but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be." So true Don, so true. I think beyond us wanting people to be who we want them to be we also project. I feel like lately beyond my weight, and eating disorder nonsense a lot of my past in general comes into the equation less. I have less of my negative internal chitter chatter going on so I can actually listen to what someone is saying, or take their actions, and words for what they are. People often are telling you who they are, we all want to ignore it. In the past I would decide someone was judging me, or I wasn't cool enough, thin enough, or whatever and they would have done nothing to make me think that. I had just decided it. I also got super hung up on the myth of potential. I would see what I thought someone could be, or get hung up on little slices of someone. There are people who can be great for a hot second but is it really worth hanging around for those crumbs? Is it enough to be friends just for those few moments where they do not suck. Maybe they don't at the core, but if that is what they are showing you most of the time maybe you do have to go by that.
I find the more I take people for who they are or what they show me the less I am disappointed. The less I judge the behavior or have expectations I should not the more I am rewarded by the actual encounter. Interactions are allowed to be just that, moments we interact. My self esteem does not need to cling to these moments to feel better, or put unnatural importance of these things, and I do not make someone into something they are not. Alexi Wasser at imboycrazy.com wrote an interesting piece about a guy she interviewed who also interviewed her. She reflected on meeting him, "If I hadn’t had a boyfriend at the time, I would have totally begun playing the whole ‘How do I get this dude to think I’m sexy and neat and interesting and desirable’ game. You know, the game where you morph into whatever you think the dude in question needs you to be. You turn into a character. Which makes sense since you’ve pretty much made the guy a character too- seeing as though you don’t even know him… yet!
In this case, I would have played the part of the coquettish intellectual to get the sexy brooding arty guy.
Yes, years ago, I would have done that. But by the time I was single and Aaron and I became officially acquainted… I’d grown up. And at this point in my life, I’m able to be the same person in every situation. I’m only able/willing to be me. As opposed to what I used to do; become different versions of myself depending on who I hung out with. Compartmentalizing my groups of friends and who they think I am/thought i was/expected me to be"
Let me throw my hand up and yell out an enthusiastic guilty! I have done that, in fact I not only did it I lived it. I did that for a long time and you know what you get yourself into a lot of trouble you are to blame for. You create the fantasy and it can be one about who you think this person is, or what you think this person thinks of you. You can create trouble by compartmentalizing making yourself into these little fractions instead of just being yourself. It's a mess. It's exhausting. It creates more confusion then is necessary. Do you have to be your whole self to the whole world all the time? No. I believe in public face but at the end of the day morphing at the drop of the hat as a lifestyle makes you get further and further away from yourself. The more I accept who I am, and that not everyone is going to like me the less inclined I am to try to convince people otherwise. You can like me or not, but turning myself into a character just makes me not like myself. When you have just met someone and have no idea if they are worth any of your time and attention are they at all worth deducting some self esteem points? I think no. I try and try to remind myself of this. I still get tempted to turn into someone else. To check out play a role. I like it, it's tempting.
I am learning though in the long run despite the few minutes it may actually be fun in the long run it leaves me feeling completely craptastic. Last week's adventure with Rico Suave showed me something. I did not project, I did not assume, I did not question, and I did not play a role. He was laying his cards out on the table and I did not judge it, but checked in decided what I was or was not okay with and then just relaxed. It showed me something. It showed me I am changing. I can trust myself to do healthier things not just in my food choices, but in my life choices. I can be in a situation and not morph into a character. I can just be myself and not be caught up with showing someone something else, making them someone else, and just take it for what it is. I hope this sticks.