(This photo has nothing to do with anything, but it’s cute… so I use it.)
It’s an age old mantra that you should act the way you want to become. Fearful? Act Brave. Bummed? Act Happy. I used to think that was inaccurate… before I discovered personality typing. I’ve noticed that I’m starting to become “more” of an INTJ since realizing I was one – in a sense, it liberated me from wondering why I was so “weird” and in another, it informed me of the weaknesses and strengths of my particular type.
Some people refuse to be typed, insisting it’ll trap them inside a box. I always argue for it, since knowing your own type can not only help you hone yourself, but also help others interact with you. My best friend and I had no end to our misunderstandings until we knew our types; then we could figure out how to best interact with each other, how to be more understanding of one another’s behavioral patterns, and so forth. Recently, this friend confessed to me that even though she’s a “Feeler” she can trigger her “Thinker” side, having been around my pragmatic, logical approach so much. She’s BECOMING more that way, because around me, she ACTS like a Thinker. (I have to wonder, around her, do I sometimes act more like a Feeler? I suspect so.)
Sometimes, this can’t always work – acting extroverted won’t make you think up things to say in casual conversations at the drop of the hat, but it might make you more inclined to be bold in approaching others. (I could use some of that.) But I started to wonder… could this act-and-become have a positive impact on our emotions, if we decided to act like things that DO bother us, DON’T bother us?
To put it bluntly, we’re a culture of wimps inclined to retreat into their closet and cry if someone doesn’t like them, if their opinion is shot down, if they make a mistake, or if a total stranger doesn’t “approve” of their behavior, lifestyle, political views, sexual orientation, whatever. What on earth happened to NOT CARING? To brushing it off and moving on? To saying (forgive the term) “screw you,” and going on about our lives unaffected by total strangers’ opinions? So what if someone is sexist, chauvinistic, racist, homophobic, you name it – being upset about it only puts you in their power. (And guess what! YOU care, THEY don’t! See the problem?)
Granted, it’s easier in theory than practice, since sensitive people (and we all are, whether we want to admit it or not – either sensitive or fearful, and sometimes both) have a really hard time dealing with personal attacks, but … why live that way? Why not learn to laugh it off, say “well, that person’s a jerk,” and not really care? WHY CARE? I get it, we all care what the people we love most think about us, but… why care what other people think about us? Why care what total strangers think of us? What are they going to do, kick us in the shins? Call us names? Names may hurt, but do they actually, physically DO anything to us (that we don’t do to ourselves? — I speak of the stomach-clenching, vomit-inducing, mind-numbing fear that grips us when we’re so angry or upset we start shaking)?
Can we become less sensitive? Can we take things less personally? Can we “become” what isn’t instinctive in our behavior patterns? I think we can. I think “faking” can turn into “reality” if we do it long enough. So maybe it’s time to stop crying over insults and start saying “I don’t care,” and LIVING like it. It’ll hurt for awhile, and it’ll be hard, and you’ll need to vent to someone about it now and again, but maybe in time it really will become true.
I, for one, would not only like to avoid being needlessly super-sensitive in my lesser moments, but also to live in a world where everyone is okay with who they are, and doesn’t feel the need to be vindicated if someone hurts their feelings. Life sucks, mean people exist everywhere, and the internet is particularly full of jackasses, but we don’t have to bear the burden of emotions… over-reacting is a choice we sometimes make, but it’s never the healthy one.
Comment or not. I don’t care. 😉