Thursday, September 30, 2010

Failure to Imagine People Complexly = Much Disappointment

It's not that I'm procrastinating or not doing stuff; I think I am being proactive and diligent about my goals. No, I've been lazy with people.

I sometimes get these epiphany type things, usually it's the same one. I realize something, the same thing, and I start to understand why I've been feeling so frustrated lately. But the most irritating bit is that I know I've realized it before. And it's like I remember it and then I feel stupid because I know this. Like when you second guess yourself on a test, write down the wrong answer and then get the test back and realize you were right in the first place. Only, it's a bit different from that. It's like learning something and then slowly forgetting it until you learn it again and are pleased with yourself until you realize this isn't the first time and if only you'd just remembered it in the first place, you'd be happier and better off.

Wow. Sentences. Getting complicated there.

My series of epiphanies is this: When I have expectations regarding people, I am constantly disappointed.
The first time I thought this was after the second time I read Paper Towns and I related to Q on the fact that I was seeing people the way I wanted them to be and was constantly disappointed when they revealed that they weren't who I made them out to be. I saw Quentin as a prime example of misimagining the people around you. In his mind, everyone he knew was his idea of the perfect version of themselves. He didn't think about other people too much, just himself and his own personal dilemmas, a theme that I'm starting to notice a lot in the books I read/write. But I think that's simply because humans are self absorbed. That's our survival instinct.

Still with me?

I don't know why this revelation doesn't stick with me. I don't know why I can't continually imagine people complexly. I notice that I do it for a while and then I slip back into my habits. But I also think I feel happier when I don't have unfounded expectations about people. I've never really tested it but I think that it is so. Because if you don't expect people to be something they're not, you don't get upset when you find out they're not what you thought they were because you never had any thoughts about them in the first place. I can't even read that sentence. Sorry about that one.

What do I do now? Obviously, I know this now but I've also known it before and that did not stop this blog from being written today. I guess all we can do is try. Try to see people the way they are, rather than how you want them to be. Try to have reasonable expectations about people or none at all.

Is it depressing to not expect much of people or is it intensely liberating? I'm hoping for the second.

And last of all, can I just say how horrible it feels* when it hits you that people aren't perfect, you're not the only person on this planet who has feelings and everyone is just as broken as you are? I know, I know, it's not a complicated thing to cross your mind but when you get undeniable proof that people, even your parents, aren't perfect, it kind of sucks. But I'm learning to accept it.

Question: Does anyone else get epiphanies such as this one?

*and how horrible it feels to think this feels horrible because it says I have expectations that I shouldn't and some sort of self entitlement complex that I've done my best to avoid.

1 comment:

Vita said...

I totally get what you mean. I find the same is true for situations as well; if you are SO SO excited about something, it rarely measures up.

I think that "imagining people complexly" is an acquired skill. It's not that you ever stop having expectations about people; it's that you learn to get past those expectations and embrace them for who they are.

At least, we can hope...