Choosing Who We Become

vampire diaries

(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. 😉

14 Replies to “Choosing Who We Become”

  1. This is so true… I spent my time thinking I was a creep (I’m an infj), because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I was truly caring for people, but at the same time, I was a loner. I had this ability just to “know” how people were feeling. It was confusing, and it certainly didn’t help me to find my place. So for years I just thought that I had to “force” myself a bit, being social, things like that. Intil I met my boyfriend (an intj). He knew the mbti, and he explained me, asked me to pass the test (4 times, “to be sure”… intj are perfectionnists 😉 ) and that how I discovered why I was how I am. Then it was just natural, because in a way, knowing my type just put the right words on things. From there, I started to live just the way I wanted to live, and it was such a relief ! I don’t care if people think I’m crazy because I’m not social (actually I’m not very comfortable around people, so my bf is more than enough), I don’t care if sometimes I’m too much of a feeler. It also allows me to understand what an intj was, so I never saw him as a freak, or a selfish, or anything like that. Sometimes people perceived intj in such a wrong way. They ARE caring, they ARE planners, they NEED time for themselves, but they are truly fascinating people, capable of great things, so loving, faithful, and that’s what I love about them. You know what you get. And I also love the fact that they are not confiding themselves to everyone, they keep their true side for the one they love. They are reassuring, and I couldn’t be happier !

  2. Old Reader is down for maintenance, but I really wanted to see if you had any new entries. I’m glad I checked. 🙂

    I really like your thoughts. I can definitely see where what you say here can be true, but I also think it will take constant practice, especially since there will always be people who know our weakest areas and can hurt us quicker than anyone else. But I like this idea and I’m going to try to implement it.

    1. It happens occasionally! I’ve been so busy the last few days (and when I’m NOT busy, I’m too tired to do anything productive), I’m surprised I’ve had time to post anything!

      It does take practice, but I think we can all build up ourselves enough that insults, after awhile, hurt less than they did in earlier times. How else could any high-profile person survive? So much hatred is directed at them, that if they let it all in, they’d wind up in a mental institution!

  3. Gosh-how did I miss this entry! 😦

    Actually, I think the photo you chose does have a lot to do with this entry, it highlights radically different characters/personalities–all together 😀 !

    Honestly, I think the worries about what other people think stems from the desire to be liked. That said, one shouldn’t actively worry about others sexist/racist etc; attitudes unless it’s so severe you feel threatened. It’s inevitable that most people out there are going to disagree with us on something, so there’s usually no point in agonizing about it.

    Ironically, I feel like there’s an odd thing going on in the culture where people, both liberals and conservatives are becoming more and less sensitive. More in that, as a friend of mine put it “some conservatives can’t read ANYTHING without becoming offended”, while, as we all know, many liberals seem to be roving about actively seeking cause for offense.

    Yet, you see a good deal less sensitivity when it comes to the nasty flame wars that break out in many parts of the internet, and that degenerate into name calling spats within a few minutes. Sadly, I’ve even seen this happen among self-professing Christians.

    People seem incapable of stepping back, taking a deep breath, and deciding to bite their tongue. Sometimes, most of the time, really, it’s not worth being drawn into a pointless argument. If people agree, you’re preachin’ to the choir, if they don’t–can anything you really say convince them otherwise?

    Good post, as always! 😉 * applauds *

    1. Yes, we all want to be liked. But none of us will be liked by everyone, so to the people who don’t like us — we need to let go and move on, otherwise we’ll find ourselves trying to make everyone like us, and being emo if they don’t, with the result of never completing or accomplishing anything — since if you don’t put yourself out there in any way, fewer people will hate you.

      There’s a difference between a flat out slanderous take on something and a thoughtful contemplation of its faults. Certain anti-religious movies = slander. Terry Pratchett talking about religion = thoughtful. One is designed to insult, the other designed to encourage thought and debate. The key is knowing the difference.

      The anonomous nature of the internet has turned every underwear-clad moron typing in their basement into a perpetrator of insults. In real life, they’re all cowards.

  4. Yes, I’d say you become a little bit more of a “Feeler” when I’m around. It’s a part of trying to understand each other that we try to see the world through different eyes.

    And yes, we are a culture of wimps and I’m sick of it. I don’t know quite what we’re afraid of. Because the government can’t throw us in jail thanks to a little thing called the 1st amendment. So, really all they can say is we’re narrow-minded, biased bigots, whatever that is supposed to mean because they’re obviously the same thing. I’m becoming less sensitive as time passes, but I still have a long way to go. Hopefully I’ll make it before the government tries to revoke or alter the 1st amendment, something I’m expecting to happen within the next 20 years or so.

      1. For us to have fewer cry-babies, we’d have to have fewer democrats. It’s amazing how much most people can withstand of being taunted, but with the dems, one little goes wrong and they freak out all over everyone.

        I wonder if it was my seeing a snarky “Don’t let your friends vote Republican” pillow in my boss’s house that challenged my respect for her. Who knew we were the devil incarnate?

        1. Everyone has a victim mentality, which is a huge problem — hence the topic of this entire post. I heard a comedian once say you’re not a victim because someone does something to you — it’s that you VOLUNTEER to continue being a victim after it happens, by not moving on from it.

          That’s a bummer about your boss, but unfortunately that’s how we all think — oh, those damn liberal/conservatives!” We never stop to realize… we work with them… we’re friends with them… we see them every day. The people who “hate” Christians don’t realize there are Christians in their life, probably — and if you confronted them about it, they’d say, “Oh, but you’re not one of THOSE Christians…” We have to learn to see people as individuals, not as groups.

  5. Pondering things for a long time, like insults or jerk people – which I’d bet ALL of us are guilty of (know I am, sometimes to an extreme), is NEVER healthy. Wish we could “deal” with these things and then, move on. Because the truth is, the people who lob the insults or say mean things are losers.

    Guess we’re all just works-in-progress. And that’s okay so long as we learn from these experiences. 🙂

  6. One of the professors at my Christian college always says “Fake it ’til you make it.” Having been the sort of person whose real opinion is evident in her air whether she expresses it or not, this saying has helped me a lot. One can train nearly any trait into themselves given enough time.

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