There’ve been times in my life when I’ve taken others’ beliefs about me—good or bad—way too much to heart. Sure, well-adjusted people say it’s a waste of emotional energy to try to stay up on a perceptional pedestal or climb out of its flip side: the pit. But who would I be if I couldn’t tie myself in knots over things I can’t control?
Gradually, however, I’ve learned that it behooves me to stop, look, and listen when a new perspective arrives on the scene.
And having received an A+ in Advanced Narcissism 439, I’ve discovered that turning outward can actually help me can process faster than inward reflection. So I find an object or view with a lot of contrasts and start with broad black/white questions like:
- Is the landscaping upstaging the mosaic or softening its jagged shapes?
- Are the matte stone slabs depressingly drab or a charming counterpoint to the bursts of color?
- Does the house’s paint scheme undercut the fountain’s design or help create an integrated whole?
With my own preferences established, I then try to explore the nuances and possibilities. Maybe the wayward Euphorbia would be less attention-grabbing if staked up a bit. Perhaps the stone slabs could try a stain. Potentially the under-porch lattice could benefit from soft plantings.
Or possibly everything is fine just as it is; possibly it’s once again the disparate parts that make the complicated whole function.
Of course such intellectual exercises are all well and good, but the question remains: what happens when our own beliefs run smack up against outsiders’ opinions of us?
Me, I’m demanding the right to reject those perspectives without penalty—and accepting that I have a responsibility not to hold others’ reactions against them. [I find the first delightfully freeing and the latter tedious, but fair is fair.]
From there? Che sarà, sarà (or as Ms Doris Day sang: que sera, sera)….