The way I interact with people around me is greatly influenced by what I perceive to be their feelings about me. My behaviors toward them are a response, in great part, to the various “messages” I feel they are sending me.
For example; the mail lady. I perceive that she has no vested interest in my life. Therefore I feel a wave or a smile are sufficient communication for maintaining our relationship. If you can even call it that.
Another example; a co-worker. I perceive that she thinks I am naive, and I therefore take all opportunities to prove myself otherwise.
Do you follow? I don’t use my perceptions as a sole guide for my behavior, I have other influences such as my morals, impulses, and my emotions at any given moment. But as I said, the feelings I believe other people have towards ME do influence the way I treat them.
Well I recently had an experience where I realized that my perceptions were dead wrong. My associations with a certain individual led me to believe she thought I was … well…
She had no use for me.
Or so I thought.
Come to find out, she admires me.
After letting myself feel flattered for awhile I started to think about how differently I would have treated her if I had only known that she liked me. Then of course – I started to wonder how many other people I ignore or disregard because I am so sure “they don’t like me”.
So I have determined to give myself a little more credit and give everyone else the benefit of the doubt. Already I can feel a greater sense of happiness and self-contentment when I choose to believe that people do like me and I therefore make a greater effort towards friendliness.
It never occurred to me that lacking self-esteem was making me so selfish.
**Disclaimer: I generally do not discuss scenarios on my blog if the people involved actually read my blog. So rest assured that you are not the person described in this post, or any other post. Thanks for reading!