Observing Myself

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Personalities

 

To finish off this week’s theme of putting on different personas, I decided to play myself today while at the same time sitting on the sidelines as observer. Granted, the observer’s perceptions were skewed by the player’s views, but all the same, I wanted to see what discoveries I would make.

As observer, I watched myself speak far too bluntly than one ought, sneak a taste of batter when no one was looking, and take much too much time fussing over words for a blog post.

As player, I felt the surge of adrenalin in an emotionally charged debate, the joy of shared laughter among friends, and the retreat into silence to collect my own thoughts.

I discovered that I liked myself better from the insider’s viewpoint than from that of observer. The observer often misunderstood my intentions and was black and white in her judgements. Not to say that the observer wasn’t correct in noticing my flaws, it’s just that she was quick to critique and slow to consider alternate interpretations.

It made me wonder if I, as observer of others, unfairly judge those I see from the outside. Perhaps taking a moment to jump into their skins will help me respond with more wisdom and fairness.

 Image source

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Emotions

Emotions are like women, some would say- can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Find out how to solve the problem of women and you’ll find out what to do with emotions.

You’re supposed to be smart about ’em. The EI Quotient- Emotional Intelligence. Made some author really rich, gave me a lifelong complex. Man, am I emotionally unintelligent- mostly for believing my feelings now have to have smarts to them.

In one of John Malkovich’s movies, his character played a man who impersonated the famous Director Stanley Kubrick. The impersonator went around behaving like he thought the Director acted. And people bought the act!

Maybe I should impersonate an Emotionally Intelligent person for the rest of my life and be ever calm, cool, and collected- and 100% contrived.

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24 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Writing

24 responses to “Observing Myself

  1. This is getting too deep for me. I have a tough time getting along with myself. I’m always trying to find a fix. I don’t think I want to get on the outside and see how much worse it may seem from an another’s point of view. Ha! I think your idea was astounding. And, it sounds like you learned from it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all alike in some basic ways. Blessings to you…

    • “I have a tough time getting along with myself.” That caught my attention. Isn’t it a strange thing, if you think about it, that we live with ourselves all the time? And we only get one self to be, out of all the billions of possibilities. Fascinating, really. And, we have the ability to consider things like how we are getting along with our own selves. You’re right, that’s deep. But kinda cool at the same time. It’s almost like our unique self is a gift given to us in order to learn how to be…

  2. I think we all have the natural tendency to judge others. You have created a wonderful new perspective by putting yourself in other people’s minds this week. I am not sure I could be so brave…

  3. Just wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed these explorations of character and creating personalities. It’s very easy to relate to it, and you explain it very well!

    • Thanks, M. Can I call you M? You’re right, it is quite M(ysterious).
      This week we’ll be on to a new topic. Creativity must keep moving, exploring, and discovering in continually new directions. Do keep on joining in the fun!

  4. O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion! – Robert Burns

    • Lovely! How do you manage to come up with these perfect quotes as comments on posts?

      Wikipedia renders the standard English translation as:
      And would some Power the small gift give us
      To see ourselves as others see us!
      It would from many a blunder free us,
      And foolish notion:
      What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
      And even devotion!

      Wikipedia adds this explanation:
      “In this poem the narrator notices an upper class lady in church, with a louse that is roving, unnoticed, around in her bonnet. The poet chastises the louse for not realising how important his host is, and then reflects that, to a louse, we are all equal prey, and that we would be disabused of our pretensions if we were to see ourselves through each others’ eyes.”

      And here I sit smiling. Thanks Keith 🙂

  5. I don’t think I ever stop seeing myself from both these angles – is that what self consciousness is all about? I’ve always been strong on observing myself, weaker as a player. My life has been about correcting the balance.
    Really thought provoking post, Zoe.

    • This self-consciousness is so common in writers. We need it in order to make us so aware of ourselves as to be able to put our perceptions into words for others to see themselves in. A blessing and a curse at once.

  6. The trick is to observe without judgment. That acceptance of the “what is” allows us to view ourselves and others with compassion, rather than condemnation.

    As far as your desire for EI goes . . . claim what isn’t, as if it were, until it becomes. 🙂

    • I am quite conflicted on this EI business. At what point does emotional intelligece come at the price of individual differences, melding us more and more into uniform vanilla? If we were all emotionally intelligent wouldn’t the world be a boring place? Not having it all together, making mistakes in the way we handle ourselves makes for a more interesting story than having the emotional intelligence to handle every situation smoothly and as one ‘ought’. I’m not sure if mine is a common view to hold…

      • V

        I think that EI is more a measure of emotional health. I’d rather have healthy. And why couldn’t healthy be interesting?

        And also perhaps EI could be seen as a goal for some, or an alternative for others.

        And then I think.. there needs to be these varying degrees of EI….to experience and live out grace.

      • I agree with your last point. Perhaps it’s about having a certain baseline of EI so that society functions more or less smoothly, and beyond that varying degrees is a good thing. I’m not a fan of the aspect of the self-help movement that feels like it’s moving us all to be our optimal selves, etc. It’s ok to not have an Emotional Intelligence score that is off the charts. Sometimes good enough is good enough. “We function in our dysfunction.”

  7. I’m male, but have worked around women all my life. I find them far more intelligent about emotions.

    If a guy gets mad he’ll want to punch you in the nose or rassle you, but women will put their feelings into words and outwit you if you don’t pay attention to subtle messages.

    Dr. B

  8. V

    I think you’re right about how we can judge too harshly those around us we observe but then we can judge ourselves too harshly as well.

    I’ve been teaching my students what inference is and found myself debating the difference between that, and making assumptions and then passing judgments.

    Try going for an entire day without passing judgement on someone. It’s tough!

    • “Try going for an entire day without passing judgement on someone.” Sounds like a great challenge to take on! Have you tried it? I haven’t. It’s a great idea. Let me try it tomorrow and see what happens. Thanks for bringing this up!

      • V

        I have tried, and failed miserably. I read about the idea from Don Miller’s blog. He proposed it a few months back, and got quite a reaction.
        What I got out of the exercise was an increased awareness of how much I do make judgments …it’s all the time!!!!

      • I tried it today. I found that I was so busy paying attention to what I was saying and doing and what others were saying and doing that I didn’t have a whole lot of room in my head for judgements. I was pretty tired, so maybe it’s more a matter of brain power than if I was judgemental or not…
        Interesting experiment, though.

  9. hmmm – observing oneself – a painful exercise 🙂 smiled at your “speak far too bluntly” assessment – that’s me, along with inappropriate laughter – at the ‘wrong’ things, too long, too loud 😀 Wouldn’t it be fun to have a kind of WikiLeaks insight into what people who know us really think of us? An anonymous-response website to this effect would be an interesting social experiment…

    • Now that would take some bravery to be willing to be on such a site. I don’t think I’d be nearly that brave.

      I say good for your for being too blunt, too loud, and too ‘laughy’. Adds character!

  10. Chloe

    Ah – I often hear myself being too blunt…and yet, really I have a soft, gentle heart which does not always come across when I open my mouth! It only happens sometimes, but when it does people are often shocked that I am so blunt. I guess if they misunderstand my intentions from time to time, it makes sense that I too, misunderstand them. We could all afford to be a little bit more forgiving of others (and ourselves)…

    A great thought-provoking post – thanks Zoe!!! xx

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