Perspective: As he sees himself

by talkbackty on Aug 21, 2011

"Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is." -William James

I will divide these thoughts into three blogs and link each here as they become completed.

Part One: Himself
Part Two: Others
Part Three: Truth

This is an idea I've wanted to tackle for awhile now. I've mentioned it before on the podcast and maybe hinted at it once or twice on the blog. Now I move forth to take the issue on with all the gusto I can muster.

I am unsure where I first read that quote, but it is something I have felt for many years. Not necessarily in those exact words. (Rarely, did I ever add the "man as he really is" to my own thoughts.) This division of who we are and the stresses that places on all of us.

When two people meet there are six people present.

There is each man as he sees himself.

Over the past week I have moved to a new town where barely a dozen people know my name. I have been introduced to countless people, most of whom I will not be able to recall when we meet again. By this time next week I will have been introduced to an additional 236 of my students.

Each and every one of these people has formed an opinion of me. And depending who you are and how you know me, their opinion of me may not even describe the same person you know. But I am getting ahead of myself, that is next post's topic.

What I can guarantee is that not one of the dozens of people I have met nor the the 236 students who will meet me will see me as I see myself.

When I go into a conversation, a meeting, a gathering, a party; I am constantly aware that I'm about to lie to everyone around me. Depending on the circumstance it could be large lies or small lies. Regardless, I will be attempting to deceive people around me.

I will be presenting them a version of myself that is not who I believe I am. I think it may be worse because of how conscious I am of this fact. Perhaps being able to claim ignorance makes one less guilty.

How I see myself is complicated. This may- again- be attributed to my consciousness of these social lies. Imagine every time that you gave an answer that you didn't quite believe, every time you laughed at a joke that you didn't find funny, every time you said you were fine when you were having a rough day; it was immediately logged away and a big blinker went off in your head that said, "lie, lie, lie." That's kind of what I got going on in this noggin.

Either you read the above passage and you said, "He's crazy." or you read it and said, "I get that." How you answered will greatly affect whether or not you are able to relate to this post, and the two that will follow.

Who I am often gets confused if I can't keep all these little lies in place. Does Jamie from church think I like her cookies? Does Jimmy from work think I like when he cracks jokes about our co-workers? Does Jared from 2nd period think I'm a hard-ass because I gave him detention. It's tough sometimes for me to keep everything straight.

Here it goes:

I think I am reasonable and rational. I think I am a good listener and a good speaker. I think I am in touch and responsive to my emotions and to others. I think I am good with people when I chose to be. I think I am smart. I think I am good at taking in multiple points of view. I think I have decent control over how I am viewed by others. I think I am observant. I think I am protective of those I care about but I've over-protected myself to let very few people in. I think I am a good man.

I know that any problem relating to confusion is self-created. If I could only tell the truth 100% of the time to everyone around me I would be all good. I don't know if I could do that.

Could you?

Six people are present.

How do you see yourself?

That was Part I, continue on...

Part Two: Others
Part Three: Truth