People's Perception... unloading | INFJ Forum

People's Perception... unloading

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by enigma, Jan 28, 2010.

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  1. enigma

    enigma Armed and Fabulous!

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    SO, someone said to me yesterday, "You are such a strong personality."
    I've been told I am:
    funny
    unapproachable
    warm
    cold
    tough
    relaxed
    kick ass
    uptight.....

    It goes on. I remember being shocked as shit a few years back when I ran into one of my old schoolmates. He was a year behind me. I don't remember the conv. now, but the result was that he (and his friends) perceived me as rich and in the 'popular crowd'. I mean, it really floored me, b/c that was so far from the truth, at least in my eyes.

    So which IS the truth?? Their perception of me, or mine?

    In actuality, I believe his family had more money that mine. Certainly a bigger, nicer house. I remember not being able to keep up with the 'richies' in that I rarely had the brand name stuff, like Walkmans.

    But perception is a funny thing isn't it? I do not perceive my self as outgoing, easy, tough, fun, funny, strong...
    I am an introvert. I am scared of you. I was bullied in high school, so much so that it scarred me for life both socially and emotionally. (Incidentally, no one in my class really had that perception, nor did my parents, who always talk about how rough my sister had it, but don't remember me having it tough. I guess she is just a bigger whiner. She always was the baby, the favorite, INFP, although I have never seen the F!!)

    I try funny to fit in, but it is usually awkward, or falls short/flat.
    The perception of strong/tough/unapproachable, while all different, I believe all relate to the 'don't fuck with me or you will regret in in infinite ways' face I put on as a defense from being bullied. Once I started college, i vowed I would not be the punching bag again. But since I lacked the social skills to "fit in" no matter what I did, this was my fallback. Perhaps this is where the cold and unapproachable comes in? I can be standoffish in that I need someone to say HI first 95% of the time. I often don't speak unless spoken to. I have studied body language and stuff like that, but nope. I'm still a social platypus. People cannot figure me out, what vibe is out of place.

    Easy going is a joke. I am so tightly wound!! I used to force myself to take my daughter to playgroup once a week when she was a toddler. I had social anxiety so bad I would always puke my guts out before going or during the trip. You see, the playgroup was a bunch of well off stay at home moms. I worked, they didn't, I was a local, they are all transplants. But Ahna had friends there and loved going, so I was taking her come hell or...

    So this may come off as strength, but I am weak. Stress that most people deal with cripples me. I love my kids, but a day alone with them reduces me to a kid myself. (ie snow days, school vacations) I just cannot deal with the bickering, misbehaving, and general kid stuff.

    I have a job in which I have to deal with people face to face, often the whole family, ride in their car, socialize with them, get to know them. It is very tough for me. But I deal with it. i think of it as shoving my I in a hole and whipping out my shiny, sparkly, E to dazzle them with. But when I am done, I don't get a recovery period, I either get more of them or I have to go home and deal with my kids. So my clients and customers get this idea of a sparkly person. Competent, wise, type A, driven. Perhaps this is the person I would have been if I had not had the experiences I have had? But I don't think so. I was always a bit socially inept, even as a child. I could not approach kids in the sandbox, i needed them to approach me, invite me, welcome me. No matter how badly I wanted to play. I have sometimes thought of this as a self esteem issue, an inferiority complex, if you will.

    I am shy, meek, vulnerable... ok maybe meek is a bit strong, sensitive, easily hurt... but this never comes across. This is the !! behind my signature....

    Holy Crap I did not intend for this to be this long. I had only intended to point out how others perceptions of you can be so vastly different from your own, and does anyone else experience this, where they say 'oh you are so...' and you laugh to yourself and think 'Now WHERE did they get that?"
     
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    #1 enigma, Jan 28, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
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  2. NeverAmI

    NeverAmI Satisclassifaction
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    The whole situation is a bit of a paradox. I don't like to be around people that I don't know because I do not want to face their expectations. Once I feel as though I no longer need to cater towards someoen else's expectations then I become a different person. This always confused the crap out of me, because I want to be a better person than I perceive myself to be, but I can't seem to sustain it.

    I had discussed in my blog how I tried to tone myself down and become the stereotypical ESTJ, because I saw that as the most widely accepted personality in American society. I am most certainly not an ESTJ even if I do have fun sometimes playing that role, putting up a consistent facade is not possible for me.

    When I was younger I have drawn the conclusion that I was shown evidence from others consistently that my personality was unacceptable and that I need to change in order to survive. Ugly duckly syndrome, I very much relate to that story.

    I have combated my social anxiety by actively stopping myself whenever I start focusing on what expectations someone else has of me, or how behaving a certain way may influence how someone thinks of me. I just tell myself to stop, over and over. I give myself a longer leash to function within my own means as long as it isn't excessively inhibiting on someone else. If I am worried that something I say might offend someone or alter their perspective of me, it doesn't matter. That doesn't mean I don't still control my emotions and stop myself from acting immaturely, but I am much less restrictive on myself.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to reveal everything on your mind, but if you are in a bad mood, it becomes less about putting on a happy face, and more about moving on because you obviously have a good reason to be in a bad mood. Even if you don't have a good reason, it doesn't matter, you don't have to pretend otherwise.

    But really, the only thing I keep in mind is to stop myself from wondering about the expectations/perceptions of others. Surprisingly this helped almost immediately but it requires work, certainly worth a shot.
     
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  3. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    same with me. I was very shy in high school, thought that nobody liked to play/be with me. Things started to get better in college.

    For almost everybody in my suroundings I did an emotional lockdown. Just letting them see what I thought was acceptable, controlling myself and only say or do what I thought they would like from me, to be socially acceptable. And I have been really scared of what people think of me, even strangers in the streets.

    But quiet resently I started to change, my borders melted down and my emotions finaly flowed again. Since then I notice a big difference in my surounding. I haven't changed my behauvior deliberatly, but the melt down has soften me up and made me more approachable and open to others. Other people heavely react on that. They become much more friendly with me. Giving me a real smile instead of a forced one. Being more gentle with me. And that in turn has a tremendous effect on my behaviour, opening me up even more.

    So I experienced that sticking with myself, supporting and loving myself, letting my emotions flow, accepting them and stop controling them, has improved the quality of my life big time! I recomment it!!! :D

    People don't "not like me" because of who I am, but because of how I acted. Now they see more who I am and feel a calm warmth from me, they handle me with more care. In fact now they can see more of who I am then before :becky:
     
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  4. testing

    On Holiday

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    Regarding the OP, so much of people's perceptions of you have so much to do with how you make them feel and nothing whatsoever to do with how you actually are. And that's a bitch, too! Because how you make someone else feel is oftentimes completely out of your control.

    For instance: it's often ALL about emotions. When you talked about the house thing and the being rich thing it made me think of someone I know who is hyper-competitive and really not a happy or content person in any way. This person is always saying so-and-so has a much nicer house than them, and is always terribly envious and bitter and jealous and just can't enjoy anything. To the point that they actually distort how large their own house really is, which you would think is a measureable physical fact. (Well, it IS a measureable physical fact, in fact.) This person went on and on about how her "friend" is so rich and has such a nice house, and it turns out that the jealous lady's house is actually 1,500 square feet larger than said friend's, whom she perceives as being so much better off.

    (Put another way: 1,500 square feet is the size of a nice 3-bedroom home, and the jealous lady has the equivalent of a nice three-bedroom-home MORE than the friend of whom she is jealous!!! Totalling about 6,500 square feet. Which she perceives as being smaller than house that is about 5,000 square feet. And she can't enjoy it, at all, because her perceptions are so messed up. Isn't that sad and crazy?)

    So what I am getting at in a roundabout and rambling way is that perception has 0% to do with reality and 100% to do with whatever f*&$ed up things are going on in people's emotions. And all you can ever do is try to be fair to people, and kind, and hope for the best, because your ability to influence what is going on with people's emotions is always going to be somewhat limited. Not completely limited, though.
     
  5. Gaze

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    I've been thinking about this all week, and i'm struggling with the same thing. Ugly duckling syndrome hits the nail right on the head. i have a huge amount of social anxiety. i'm constantly in fear of judgment, etc. and i've reached the point where i'm taking it one day at a time.
     
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    #5 Gaze, Jan 28, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  6. OP
    enigma

    enigma Armed and Fabulous!

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    Some good points, Thank you J
     
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  7. Eniko

    Eniko May snark if provoked
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    Stuff like this happens to me all the time, too. I used to find it infuriating, because I was every bit as fragile as the other fragile girl everyone treated with kid gloves. They just had this sense that I was strong and brave and capable of dealing.

    Boy did that piss me off.

    Lately though I figure if there's two sides of me, the side I perceive which is shy, nervous, supremely flawed and other negative things, and the side they perceive which is stable, strong, rational and brave... well then I'm going to elect to go with their perception rather than mine. I feel better about myself, life is more pleasant in general, and I get so much more done!

    Just think about it. You know how you perceive yourself because you feel everything instantly. But bravery isn't about not having fear, it's about not letting it hold you back. Being strong isn't about lacking adversity, it's how you deal with it.
    When I read this, I perceive you as strong, and capable. Because even though you were so nervous you went out and got things done. Every single time. And I have immense respect for that. You can't deny the fact you did; you were there. So which is the true you? The you who gets so socially anxious, or the you who is strong and brave enough to face that anxiety time and time again, and get things done?

    The truth lies somewhere in the middle, and the more you embrace the positive aspects of your own being instead of focussing on the negative, the easier all of it becomes.
     
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  8. Gaze

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    :amen:​
     
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  9. OP
    enigma

    enigma Armed and Fabulous!

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    2nd that!
     
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  10. Stu

    Stu .
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    recovery period

    This is the crux of it. The reason that this is an issue is that you feel you are cheating you kids. Your clients are getting all you extrovert qualities and by the time you get home that part of you needs to recharge.
     
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  11. NeverAmI

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    But why is extroversion required in the first place? Introversion in itself doesn't mean you can't be outgoing. However, putting on the facade of being an extrovert when you are not is simply too draining.

    If you are naturally not a likeable person then perhaps you will lose clients if you act more comfortable in your own skin. Ultimately, I think your clients will respect you more if you are comfortable with whatever you are. Even subconsciously a lot of people can detect a facade and it just creates even more overhead.

    This doesn't mean that you are fake, it simply means that you are focusing too much on things that cannot change.

    As much as we like to think we can control the opinions of others, we simply cannot. You can work to influence those opinions, but once you stop, it is hard to imagine why you bothered in the first place.
     
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  12. Gaze

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    Thing of it is most of us would prefer to be our authentic selves almost every minute of the day if we could, but many don't have that luxury. When you're in a position where you relating to a number of people everyday, and being a part of this environment requires being social, you can't simply "be yourself." You have to be more expressive or extroverted in order to do the job you're hired to do. And if you adjust your behavior to your personal feelings, then you risk not doing that job well because you're focused on self and feelings. So, it's not so simple as behaving the way you want to. There are social constraints and you can't always do what's right for you.
     
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    #12 Gaze, Jan 28, 2010
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  13. Stu

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    my introverted mode and my extroverted mode are both truly me just as my critical thinking mode and my intuitive mode are truly me.
     
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  14. NeverAmI

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    This is my perdicament as well. I am riding that fine line while trying to give up consideration of the opinions of others. Part of it involves my logic being strong enough to know how to act without actually constantly analyzing other people. Some people may take offense to what I say, but I have faith that I am now competent enough not to say damaging things, or to word things in a way that is an attack.

    My intentions are never to attack someone else, yet some perceive it as that way. The question is whether it is worth exerting the energy beforehand to avoid any potential conflict or to expend relatively less energy after the fact to inform someone that you are not attacking them and even give reasoning if they decide they want to hear it.

    I remember you had posted that you thought your job was not right for you. This could be the case, that your personality is simply incompatible with what you do. If that is the case then perhaps it is logical to move on to something different. It could also be a exaterated perception, it is hard to tell. I am not completely convinced of my logic here, yet.
     
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  15. NeverAmI

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    This makes sense, I am most certainly not extroverted so I cannot relay from that perspective. I simply present what I know about myself and whether that matches with how Enigma feels, or how she acts is for her to decide.
     
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  16. Gaze

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    My post is meant to address your post and Enigma's discussion of the energy she has to expend at work, and to explain why it's not so simple for everyone to be however they choose to be in a professional or social setting or interaction. Whether or not my job is compatible with my personality is less important than the fact that i have a job to do, and i simply have to learn how to manage my emotions and feelings in order to do it effectively. I can't simply walk away because i want to. It's not feasible for a variety of reasons right now, which is the case for many people. What i was trying to say is that telling someone to just leave their job is not necessarily practical. They don't have the luxury of simply doing what's right for them, because their decisions affect others. In others words, it's just not that simple as moving on.
     
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    #16 Gaze, Jan 28, 2010
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  17. NeverAmI

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    I understand about the job/responsibilities, especially with jobs as scarce as they are right now.

    In regards to modifying your thinking process, I believe that I can be mature without constantly analyzing everything and everyone. I still analyze, but I focus on no longer analyzing what people directly around me are thinking, or even paying much attention to them whereas before I would be completely overwhelmed with it.

    The idea of becoming a monster, or that there was something fundamentally wrong with me at my core, or that I would fundamentally change myself if I altered this process was what kept me from trying this in the first place.

    Of course I make assumptions here and I can't say whether or not you have social anxiety, we may have two completely different issues at hand here. For me personally, it is working and I am doing better at my job rather than worse, so far. If it is social anxiety that you are dealing with, then it is worth trying at least for a couple days, it is a slow process, it doesn't change you overnight. I did feel fairly quick results though.
     
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  18. Gaze

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    Ok, i see what you mean. *walks outside to think*
     
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  19. BlinkandThink

    BlinkandThink Community Member

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    Someone recently used the word "sophisticated" to describe me.



    My laughter was EPIC. :pound: I don't know where the hell anyone would even look to find that adjective about anything I am or do.

    Sometimes there is a huge misinterpretation of the way I see the world that leaves me very: :m130: But most are more of a narrow view of one part of me than a total misreading.


    However ... regarding the original post ... you do sound strong to me. Strength is doing what you need to do regardless of how weak you feel. If it's easy for you, it requires no strength. So if I were to use that word to describe you, that would be my meaning ... not that I don't recognize your feelings of weakness but that I see your decision to act despite them. :hug:
     
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    #19 BlinkandThink, Jan 28, 2010
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  20. OP
    enigma

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    And I appreciate all your input, J, very much. It has given me much food for thought.
    As has everyone's posts on this topic!! It is always comforting to hear others feel the same as you do or face the same challenges, or at the very least understands. This has always been a sticky issue for me, fitting social norms or being my self and finding the place where these overlap so as to find some peace within myself. I know it will never be easy, but I do get more comfortable in my own skin everyday. Well, maybe 2 steps forward, 1 step back....:m122:
     
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