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Old 05-10-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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How we view ourselves

I was reading a book by George Sands (Indiana) and a paragraph jumped out at me.



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...Vice never sees its own ugliness---if it did, it would be frightened by its own image. Shakespeare's Iago, who behaves in a way that's true to his nature, soundsfalse because he is forced by our dramatic conventions to unmask himself, to himself be the one to lay bare the secrets of his complex and crooked heart. In reality, man seldom tramples his conscience underfoot so casually: he turns it this way and that, pushes and pulls at it. twists it out of shape, and when he has distorted it, made it flabby and shapeless, worn it out, he then keeps it at his side like an indulgent master whom he pretends to fear, consult and obey but who in reality gives in to his every whim and desire.
It set me to thinking about a common theme I wonder about--what we do to maintain our good opinion of ourselves, while pretty much allowing ourselves to behave in manners we would criticize in other people, the mental gymnastics we must perform to justify our behavior as much to ourselves as to others.

It interests me because I watch my character flaws and I watch other people. I watch what they (and I) say in public and do in private when we think no one is watching or no one important enough to bother us or challenge us is watching. Not even huge things but the smaller day to day things that wreak havoc--the bullying, the stereotyping, the lies, the cruelties, the betrayels and the backstabbing, the ignoring, the mocking, the kissing up to those more powerful than we are and the less than considerate treatment we extend to people less powerful than we are. We often behave differently in one of one group of people than we do in front of another. We behave differently when we don't think we are accountable or anonymous or protected.

I watch it in the corporate world, the religious world, the academic world---where it seems the rules are made for other people. We are justified in some way in breaking them. But we want to keep our good name as if we do follow the rules.

Do you find that true in other people? Do you find it true in yourself?
Do you monitor your own behavior? Can we look at ourselves objectively? Or do most people do those twists that allow them to ignore or justify their own behavior so they don't have to be uncomfortable with themselves?

Is bad behavior (sin, vice, whatever you want to call it) just what other people do?
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
Not even huge things but the smaller day to day things that wreak havoc--the bullying, the stereotyping, the lies, the cruelties, the betrayels and the backstabbing, the ignoring, the mocking, the kissing up to those more powerful than we are and the less than considerate treatment we extend to people less powerful than we are.
Ah yes, blue crack daily life, often on more gloriously transparent display in FYM.
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:33 AM   #3
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Ah, but how about you? We're all pretty good about pinpointing other people's bad behaviors. I'm more interested in how we look at our own.

I have engaged in every one of those behaviors at some time or another. I can see the behaviors, but I have to think hard about how I'm justifying them, why I'm doing them, if I ignored them. Did I just compartmentalize them? Do I allow myself the luxury of feeling guilty about them in order to assuage my fickle conscience and then turn around to do them again the next time. Do we deliberately choose not to think beforehand so it might get in the way of our own advantage? Or have we conveniently tapped in to "corporate/etc culture" since what is commonplace must be OK.

(Also it is George Sand, not Sands--I'd like to say it was a typo but I always say Sands instead of Sand.)
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Old 05-10-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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Ah, but how about you?
My comment included me.

I embrace my demons as much as I try to tame them. Some are on bad behaviour display, some are not. Being true to myself may not always mean conforming to commonly held perspectives on what is or is not acceptable, good or bad.

If anything, owning my own behaviour helps make me more interested in understanding where others are coming before forming opinions or especially before judging other people's behaviour.

That said, I don't mind calling a spade a spade and don't exclude myself from criticism when warranted (and it's often warranted ).
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:56 PM   #5
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Well, that's a pretty big question.

I don't think I'm particularly given to the weakness of slamming others for behaviors I show myself. What I do know I'm quite capable of is reacting adversely to others for behaviors that are no worse than ones I engage in, even though they're different. I'm not generally much given to resentment and don't spend much time in that mindset, but when I do, it's more often than not what you might call 'personality conflict'--i.e. letting myself get keenly annoyed with someone for what basically boils down to their simply having a different social mentality and outlook from mine. I tend to react this way towards people with 'diva' personalities, for example (I'm using that in a gender-neutral sense), because I personally tend to be reserved and cautious about how my own behavior might influence a social situation, quite the opposite of the 'diva' type. Which can make me prone to irritably interpreting their behavior as a selfish and unwarranted 'easy way' to get attention and influence an outcome...when from a different perspective, I could quite possibly be viewed as someone with an equally infuriating habit of keeping my cards close to my chest and feigning a noncommittal outlook that I couldn't possibly feel (though in truth I probably do, lol). Of course, in either case there's also the dimension of awareness of and sensitivity to others' feelings and perceptions, but I suspect that may be separate from whether one is a 'diva' or a cautious type; I don't think being one or the other necessarily says much about your level of compassion for others.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:23 AM   #6
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I certainly engage in manipulative behavior. I approach too many human things like a chess game--set up a situation to force somebody else's hand, watch how I am being set up and take defensive moves. If you're not my friend, I don't show my hand. (Mixed metaphors there, lol). I would justify that because I figured that was the way almost everyone acted and if you couldn't play the game, tough shit.

I would compartmentalize (bad behavior for a good cause) or elevate my bad behavior by calling my cruelties brutal honesty. (And it is amazing how many people you can deceive by usually telling the truth--but never the whole truth) I attacked weakness with almost a predatory bloodlust. I couldn't stand weakness. I wouldn't admit my own.
But I had an almost pathological need to consider myself a superior and good person and had those two faces. (It is startling how often the kind of behavior I engaged in and religious zealotry--and I was very religious when I was younger--go together. I don't think religion is a bad thing. I think religion and me was a dangerous mix. I could cover myself with virtue.) I wasn't the worst person on the face of the earth. In fact, it is behavior that is depressingly common.

It took a very good friend-- who was open, vulnerable and honest in a way I could never be--to challenge me. Someone I mistreated for years, who would not attack me back, but never backed down. And I began to look at my own behavior. And what was behind that behavior.

I'm certainly passive/aggressive.

But it was also behaviors I could recognize in other people. But I think it is a very hard thing to combat. The one question my friend would ask again and again is do they know what they are doing? I think they do, but they willfully ignore it in order to maintain their good opinion of themselves without inconveniencing themselves. And that is, I think, the crux of the passage and the crux of this thread.

I think AliEnvy had an interesting post. You need to look at yourself without the need to make excuses before you can objectively see yourself. As long as you can hide yourself from yourself, there's no reason to change.

It is interesting to watch the difference between people who make excuses and as AliEnvy said, people who own their behavior.

I actually wasn't thinking of FYM when I started this thread. I'm kind of out of the loop here anymore so I don't pay as much attention even though I still visit daily. But I have been seeing the destructive, demeaning and inhumane consequences in my real life. Not so much to me. The wall I've built is still pretty thick. But I see it all around me and wonder what it takes to get through to some people just what assholes they are
(knowing how much it took to get through to me what an asshole I was and still am capable of being if I don't watch myself.)
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:27 PM   #7
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I guess people don't want to answer those questions about themselves.

I admire the hell out of people who can take an honest look at themselves and their behavior and change it, like you did. I think that's awesome.

It's tough for me to answer quickly and as well as you did-it takes so much self reflection. And I don't start out from a place of having a good opinion of myself so I'm better off at knowing how to maintain a less than good one, I guess. But I like to think I'm fairly well aware of my flaws. At least at this point I think I can distinguish a real one from just a hurtful mean comment from someone who doesn't matter. When you internalize that and think it's really you-that can mess you up, big time.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:40 AM   #8
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Love this thread.

But like all good threads, it take time and effort to respond well.

I'm thinking about this and will come back soon--hopefully this thread will still be here.

One thought, though. I don't think most of us are willing to be honest enough with ourselves to really grapple with these issues.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:02 AM   #9
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I find the contradictions we have an interesting sidepoint that was raised somewhere here.
With me, I know I am so highly critical of people in general and people I meet and know. I assess and watch the small details of a person - my neighbour who likes to complain about everyone's dogs when he has a noisy one himself and is a cruel tyrant of a father. Him, for example, I cannot take his complaints seriously when I see him as an emotional abuser with 2 failed marriages. What has this got to do with the dogs? Nothing. But I don't see him as worthy of complaint because he is such a cold soul. And in general conversation, he talks over people. All the time. He's probably friendly enough, and probably harmless, but I've assessed him as x, y, and z. I don't get past a general 'hello' to people like him because I've judged and sentenced him already. And I don't like mean. So I do this a lot. I see aspects of people and think they don't have a whole picture. My neighbour is x, y, and z and therefore cannot be anything else as well. I don't see others as capable of adapting and blending, they're unaware of those around them, I suspect they don't even know my surname but I can tell you the causes of the 2 divorces and how much he has spent on speech therapy for his son. I judge on and on. Or rather, I see these aspects and go no further. I stop looking for the good. People who speak poorly, improperly, who are poorly groomed, I judge. They may be nice, but surely they're not educated, they cannot be this or that.

How do I justify this? Well, I hate my own flaws more, so I think that it is OK to be like this with others because the harshness I view others with is nothing on the self criticism I give myself daily. The laughable part of my stupid mental gymnastics is of course no one deserves this. Not me, not everyone else, not anyone else. I don't know shit about others, and I'm not as perfect or as faulty as I think I am.

I don't think I've addressed this at all how you intended, BS.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:03 PM   #10
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I am not much bothered by what other people think of me, which I suspect is a common INTJ trait. I was reading up on personality types recently, so I tend to see stuff through that prism at present. An INTJ stabs you in the front, not in the back, or so I read. On the other hand, I would at times critique others for faults that I also have, so there's that hypocrisy there which I think most of us have to a greater or lesser extent.

I don't think I am particularly manipulative or two-faced, so I plead innocent on that one.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:20 PM   #11
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<--- ENTP
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:45 PM   #12
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Whenever I meet people, I always psycho-analyze them. Meaning, I try to figure out why they do things so I could deal with them better, or so I believe. I guess I do that to make others seem weaker than me or more troubled so I wouldn't feel so bad about my own insecurities.

A few years ago, I had the worst attitude and I dealt with it by thinking, "so what?" I also defended it by thinking, "so and so does this, that, and the other thing, so what's wrong with me doing something wrong?" I guess I was afraid to look at myself and see what I was doing, or else I would've been horrified.

I do think people have bad behaviors out of deep insecurities. They try to think themselves superior to others, and eventually they start to believe they are, unaware that underneath they are terribly frightened.

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Old 05-14-2009, 08:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
people
have
insecurities.
this is true
I had to learn to be kind to myself

then I could be kind to others

when I was kind to others
my insecurities diminished.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:01 PM   #14
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ENFP.

my initial offering to this thread is that i think that we are less "honest" when measuring ourselves because we have the benefit of understanding our intentions.

or at least what we think are our intentions.

it can get very paralyzing, thinking out of one box only to realize that you've discovered you're in another box. it really doesn't end.

this is why we have Ambien?
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Old 05-15-2009, 07:51 AM   #15
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ENFP.
Did I miss the post about the abbreviations? What is an ENFP?
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