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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Knee-Jerk Reaction


I am fifty-eight years old. Divorced. Those two facts alone would lead many (most?) to conclude I carry with me significant emotional baggage.

I probably do.

I will most likely discover the full number and weight of those bags in the years and human interactions to come. Experience is a profound teacher and I’ve still much to learn.

I HAVE discovered something new about myself in recent years. A character trait that was non-existent in my youth, seldom an issue in past decades: Nowadays I run (fast) and distance myself as far as possible from any and all who profess to know what I am thinking or feeling.

As stated earlier, I wasn’t always that way. Truth be told, it never much mattered. As a youth, I’d listen to others’ opinions about my brain or heart processes. Sometimes, I’d find the opinions interesting. Sometimes simply silly or wrong. Such opinions rarely got under my skin though. In fact, they sometimes opened my blind eyes to truths
I would have rather brushed away (in my early youth, my incredibly stupid adolescent years). I figured the musings of others regarding my thought processes and emotions came part and parcel with human interplay.

I came to know better as my hair grayed.

Believe it or not, it all started with a management training program
I attended over the course of a year. My employer offered a seminar series addressing management challenges. I don’t remember the exact number of training sessions. Let’s say there was one per month for one year. That’s a reasonably close estimate. The funny thing, though, was that each seminar led to the same lesson: One should never assume one knows what another is thinking or feeling. Simply deal with the issue at hand based on objective criteria. Nothing less. Nothing MORE. I gotta say, that one admonition made me a better manager/supervisor. That ONE lesson infused my very marrow.

I quit the workaday work, but I didn’t quit Life.

And it was in my personal life that this lesson hummed (sometimes screamed) as those who meant so much to me spent so much energy telling me what I thought and felt. Too often, they were wrong. All too often, their opinions and conclusions did FAR more harm than good.

In the end, they proved catastrophically destructive.

As one of the many consequences, I run from any and all who believe they know the yearnings of my heart, the inner workings of my brain. My wounds still bleed and such commentary is salt.

Shall I deem this “emotional baggage”?

Or wisdom?

* * *

19 Comments:

Blogger deb said...

It sounds like you're feeling frustrated:)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I don't have a clue what other people are thinking. When I guess, I usually guess wrong. I remember reading a book when I was in high school called The Chrysalids. In it, some of the characters have telepathic capabilities. I always liked that idea, thought it would make life so much easier, although as I got older I realized that would not be the case.

How often do we run from our own thoughts? Imagine having to run from the thoughts of others as well. The idea still intrigues me though.

Wed Aug 05, 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

This one (which I say is wisdom and not baggage) is absolutely essential to my work. And it is something that has always driven me crazy:
http://incognitoagent.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-did-you-say-i-couldnt-hear-you-i.html

Wed Aug 05, 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

It's the wisdom that comes with age and living, Jonas. It's so unfortunate that so many people think they can read others to the point of telling them what they are thinking and feeling without realizing they haven't a clue.

I myself am divorced also, as well as widowed. I've been told many times what I need, what I want, how I should 'be', and what I think. Not so much what I feel, though.

For me, it has made me wiser as well, but also much more independent. I don't profess to know what goes on in anyone else's head or heart... there's no bubble over anyone's head with their thoughts running through it... so how can I?

I am, however, observant and can sense emotions oftentimes. But the guessing I leave alone. I much prefer someone to be comfortable enough with me to actually tell me what they are thinking and feeling. That is so much more important to me.

xoxo

Wed Aug 05, 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Everyone has emotional baggage. I think it's human to want to understand someone and their baggage is part of who they are. Of course telling them you know how they think or feel is ridiculous. But a discussion or attempt at a dialogue is another thing.

Though I am not in the least guilty of making assumptions here, I would like to point out that you do put a certain amount of your heart and brain into this blog. (Very eloquently.) I could understand someone thinking they might know something about you.

Wed Aug 05, 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger L'uragano (The Hurricane) said...

When i was a reporter i learned so, so much. but the most important lesson I carry with me today...is that you never assume what someone means, says, or feels. you may ask, ask, ask until the answer is as transparent as clean glass. i think any one who attempts to impose their thoughts, feelings, etc onto someone else as if it were truth....deserves to be run from.

Thu Aug 06, 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Cute, Deb. Cute.

You touched on something that resonates within me. I am often confused regarding my own true feelings. It's quite the challenge to "Know Thyself". It's incredibly arrogant for another human to believe he/she can divine another's thoughts.

And you should know, Spy Queen. You are, after all, a highly trained professional (with a license to kill?).

You and I are reading from the same hymnal, Ponita...(and Mary, too). It's not that I get heartburn when people believe they understand another. I get that. What fries my eggs is when people regard their own opinions/projections as Truths. That's when opinions become weapons.

To my mind, the ideal partner is someone insatiably curious to know another...to share...to discuss...to strive for understanding...no matter how many years have gone by, no matter the supposed familiarity. To have a partner who makes one crazy to learn more is to be most blessed. To have a partner who believes he/she knows best is to die a thousand deaths.

News reporters can be SO wise, My Tempest!

Thu Aug 06, 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

We definitely read from the same hymnal, Jonas... after that comment about having a partner who wants to learn more and more about you... to share... to understand...

I am like that but have not met someone who will let me be that way... I think people like that (like me...) are a rarity these days and too many others run in fear... perhaps of learning more about themselves than they want to know, because they would have to reveal themselves layer by layer. And for many, that's just too damn scary!

Thu Aug 06, 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

My parents spoiled me, Ponita. They were two crazy-gifted individuals who simply adored each other. They were oil and water. Fire and ice. But they loved each other profoundly and spent each and every day sharing, discussing, debating, exchanging, crying, negotiating, giving up and giving in, and loving each other for decade after decade after decade after decade.

Silly spawn of theirs, I thought that's just how it was between two loving hearts. I came to know better. I came to know just how rare their love was.

How very precious and rare.

Thu Aug 06, 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

How blessed you were to grow up seeing parents love like that.

It's too bad that's not the way it is for every couple.

And you're not silly at all... unless you mean to be, that is! ~hugs~

Thu Aug 06, 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yeah. My parents were works of art, Ponita. I'm just a pale imitation (and ALL their conflicts rage inside of me, still!).

All in all, though, I consider myself truly blessed. In life, in love, in experience and longevity.

My life's been an improbable adventure...filled with tears galore, sure...but a whole lotta pure joy, too!

Fri Aug 07, 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

No license to kill - I'm a Quaker secret agent.

Fri Aug 07, 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Way cool, Spy Queen! I'm rather fond of covert peace operations.

Sat Aug 08, 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Selma said...

I tend to run from people who make assumptions about me, mainly because I have an intolerance for people who jump to conclusions without knowing all the ins and outs. Luragano said it so beautifully. Couldn't agree more!

Sat Aug 08, 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

Wisdom, Jonas, wisdom. I'm learning it too, by learning that I don't always understand even myself. And who are we to judge others, by the measure by which we think we know ourselves. Important information you've learned. Wish we could all learn it early, carry it with us. Maybe we would be kinder with one another. But that you should run from others, that's a bit startling. Simply hold what you know close and be well with it. The work is now for everyone else.

Tue Aug 11, 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

(Your comment bar has been funky with me lately...can't comment above with Alanis who is a POWERHOUSE! Forgot how much I love her and her honesty, her delivery. Play it loud, Jonas. Let it find you deep. One of the greatest joys...to share in the words, the rythym, the delivery. Loud!)

Tue Aug 11, 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous joanne said...

i don't even know what i'm thinking or feeling much of the time, and if i do have some knowledge of it the relevance of it is rather limited because it can all change on a dime... it's funny how others can presume to know for you and better than you, isn't it?...

i think people mostly use "you" statements to really address themselves... so afraid of turning their analytical eye inward the things they see in others are just a mirror reflection right back at them at the very things inside themselves... i don't dispute there are things inside me that others see... i know i have many sides and parts... it's interesting though to see what any given individual may choose to focus on when they look at me... a reflection more of where they're at, perhaps?

at some point i am wishing the gray hair that i started getting in my late 20s would actually grant me the wisdom part... i'm still waiting...

Tue Aug 11, 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Lemme start with sumpin' simple: The comment bar is funky for me, too, Dubya-Dubya. Don't know why that is. Sometimes a stab at the refresh tab fixes it. Sometimes not. Here's a tip, though: You can always click on the specific entry in the Recent Posts column and get the full text and all of the comments. (I'm kinda proud I figgered all that out for meself, Geek-light clown that I am).

Tue Aug 11, 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm thinkin' I prolly need to address this topic again...someday.

I wasn't talkin' about yer everday variety of human interactions, the striving to know another. The mis-communication. The mis-interpretatation. All of the confusion that comes part and parcel with ANY relationship. I don't run from that. I understand the need to simply hunker down and do the work necessary to talk/listen/learn and educate and SHARE (and it don't come easy).

No, this entry was NOT about that.

I was talkin' about the people who use THEIR perceptions/projections to bludgeon, to control, to expiate their OWN sins and frailties, insecurities and needs. The spousal abuser who uses a fiction to justify violence...either verbal or physical (or both). I was thinking of the "Control Freak" who demeans and diminishes, the sort who destroys another in order to feel "safe" or "justified".

The individual I run from...fast and far...is the sort who creates his/her own reality to satisfy his/her own needs.

It's hard to explain unless one has experienced the pain, the destruction and the insanity.

As I wrote above, I may revisit this toopic. I may not. It's serious stuff.

My wounds still bleed.

Tue Aug 11, 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, Joanne...your early gray merely reflects the fact that you chanced upon Wisdom earlier than people such as I.

Tue Aug 11, 11:49:00 PM  

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