So there’s this concept called ‘communication.’ Apparently humans do it in order to relay ideas to one another, and it baffles me sometimes. You see, most of my life, I’ve done my best to blend in and be unseen. A lot of that involved learning how to internalize any sort of ideas and emotions so that nobody else sees them.
But there’s more to this than just being quiet and hiding all the time. In a way, that’s the opposite of blending in, because people notice whenever you refuse to respond or have trouble answering during a conversation. Thus, I learned not only to be quiet when I could, but also the responses people look for when talking, so I could be as normal and inconspicuous as possible. In short, I learned to lie.
For a while, this worked. In fact, I was praised highly by everyone around me because I made good grades, I always played well with others, and I did my best to never upset anyone. I mastered the art of blending in, wearing a mask, and making everyone around me smile.
It did not make me happy.
That might be surprising. My mask was effective. Everyone loved me. I had a generally good effect on the world, despite how small my role in reality is. Being loved is what everybody wants in life, right? Right.
But in this case, I wasn’t the one being loved. It was the lie of myself I’d spread that made everyone like me. But love requires true understanding, and lying about who I was hindered that process. People didn’t know me; therefore they couldn’t fully love me.
Now I’m in college, on my own with a bunch of different people. I’m learning that acting like a likeable person isn’t enough, because I’m not acting like myself. I never learn whether people will actually accept me or not.
Some of the people around me most are my coworkers. I’m grateful for my job here at the Writing Center because I’m encouraged to write (this blog, for instance). Writing causes me to actually think about what I’m saying, rather than going with the gut reaction I think is socially acceptable. I appreciate the chance to develop what I want to say; to truly sit down and think in my own thoughts about how I view things
So here are my real thoughts; the ideas of a strange kind of liar who, for once, is going to say what he thinks. While it’s good to think about others around you, it’s also important to review what you think and feel. Truly thinking of others isn’t just quieting oneself so the others can be happy; it’s communicating with love. Misgivings about situations and such can be voiced without being rude or offensive, and in most cases, people appreciate the input.
So don’t partake of my habit. Talk things through with your friends and family. If you need to, write down a few paragraphs and sort it all out so you can think clearly and concisely. I know it helps me.
Written by: Isaac