Sunday, June 22, 2008

People Are More Than Avatars and Personas

Look around you at all the people. Everyone has their own set of problems, issues, concerns, and other B.S. that they do not tell you about, and thus, you never know what thoughts and emotions other people carry around in their minds. Yet we often don't think about this.

Even close friends and loved ones often do not know about sadness, worry, lost desires or frustrations. Society teaches early on that most folks are not that concerned with the bad stuff, so people tend to keep it to themselves. Someone who always leads with their problems finds themselves alone quickly, so they put up facades and greet people by saying things are "fine". It becomes a habit.

Yet, even when we are dealing with negative things, other people can have positive impacts on our lives. As human beings we have the amazing ability to bring joy to other people and to allow them to bring joy to our worlds. When people really care and connect, all the other stuff seems to matter less. We desire to matter to others and they too want our compassion and concern. But most erect walls around their minds and live in solitude. Even when people are connected, they still often do not share.

It is weird to think about, but this is true of most people. People rarely open their souls to those around them. They do not expose their inner self.

If you relate to the words you read here, then find your own way to join the ranks of those who want to dig deeper and cultivate stronger relationships. To do this you need to ask more questions of those around you. Discover their motivation and become a catalyst to help others move toward their desires. You also need to be more forthcoming about yourself with those around you, especially when they are inquisitive. To get others to share, you need to expose your heart as well.

I am actively trying to do this, and it is hard. When you ask questions, people can sometimes be suspicious or evasive in their answers. It is not easy to know what others need. You have to be willing to assist whenever the opportunity arrives. . But if you ask enough questions you will discover more about each person you encounter.

In today's superficial world of social online media, people tend to hide behind avatars and persona's. While Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other internet communications can speed up getting to know people, they can also lead you astray. We see what people want us to see and accept this as being a deep connection.

I have made many connections with people both in person and online, but when I think about it, only a select few do I really know....and those same few know me at the level of my soul. Yet when we bond with others at this level it is special, so expanding your inner circle can have a real impact on your future.

Look at everyone you encounter today and ask them something that will show you a glimpse of who they are inside. Never settle for the facade.

Have A Great Day.



Jody Reale said...

Thom, absolutely. One of my favorite quotes as of late is: "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." --Plato

Steve Harper said...

Great post as always my friend. It truly makes you think!

So I will take you up on your challenge by asking one my favorite Ripple Connection Questions:

What is something you want to accomplish but you need someone else's help in order to make it happen?

Ripple On!!!


P.S. You know me right? I mean really, really know me?

Ricardo G. said...

Good post. I agree with your sentiment that we need to be more open, but I do think we naturally choose with whom to be more open. There is a risk, of course, in being open with someone who might use personal information against you in your workplace, for instance.

It also strikes me that this "not wanting to bother" others with our problems has a cultural component. We Americans tend to value our individual independence above many other norms. IMHO this can separate us from each other. As I compare our culture to Latin culture, for instance, in Latin American countries one often does not have as much privacy or "freedom" to do whatever one wants whenever one wants to do it. Social circles can feel like small town rumor mills even in big cities, and one is expected to attend frequent family get-togethers. Yet, people are also less lonely and suicide is very rare. In contrast, in American cities we can be surrounded by people and feel absolutely alone. To what extent is this caused precisely by our fear of sharing too much about ourselves or reluctance to give up some of our individual freedom?

Thanks for sharing, Thom. Take care & hope to catch ya again for lunch sometime soon.

-- Ricardo G.