image found hereThat's quite a burden, if you ask me. I'm sure most of us, if we really dive into that question, would laugh nervously and reassure ourselves that, of course not, every little thing shouldn't define us! We're not always on display, right?
Well, I think that's a question we all have to answer for ourselves.
I learned in undergrad about a certain psychological fallacy (I forget the name, but remember the point - does that mean I was a good student or a bad one? Let's not take a vote)...
Anyway, this belief, that ALL of us hold to some degree, says that, essentially, if we do something mean, it's because we're having a bad day. If someone else does, it's because they're a mean person. Of course, this mostly occurs with people we don't know.
For instance, if your checkout person at the grocery store is rude to you, you'll probably give her a dirty look and walk away thinking what a bitch she was.
BUT, if you're eating at a restaurant and rude to your server because the kitchen messed up your order (which, remember, may have nothing to do with that server at all), and if you realize that you're being rude, you won't admit in your mind to being a jerk, the way you thought your check out person was. Rather, you'll blame it on your day, your mood, low blood sugar, fight you just had with your mother, whatever.
(However, your server will probably chalk it up to you being a jackass. Just sayin. All honesty on this blog!)
So, think for a moment about whether everything you do and say represents who you REALLY are.
I mean, other than being embarrassing, we can't argue that it's not true, right?
I know that, for my part, it's not easy to admit that when I don't rush through my morning showers, it indicates that I'm selfish. Not that, at that moment when I could be pulling the razor up my leg more quickly, I'm consciously thinking about how the next person may run out of hot water, but the answer is, yes, I do know that's a possibility. I'm not thinking about it, but the knowledge is is my noggin somewhere. So, if I admit that I take showers that are more lengthy than they need to be, which I do, I must also admit that I'm selfish. (that gives me room to grow, and a piece of humble pie to eat. Both good things in the end)
Of course, this goes both ways, and it means that you can be extra proud of the kind and selfless things you do on a daily basis, large and small. Some people occasionally pay the road toll or pay for the fast food order of the person behind them in line, who they've never met. I LOVE that idea. Some give to people on the street asking for money (a sticky subject, to be sure, but the way I think about it is, if I can spare a dollar, why not? Sure, they may just be going to buy booze, but to be completely honest, if I were where they are I may want to get obliterated too...just trying to be fair. Also, don't forget that a huge percentage of the homeless that you see in those situations aren't mentally sound by current standards. Makes things more complicated, no?)
Anyway, just some thoughts for you. So, today, as you go about your routine, do it as if someone were watching every decision you make, trying to decipher what kind of person you are. I guarantee that, if you do, you'll sleep more soundly tonight :)
My grandma used to plant tomato seedlings in tin cans from tomato sauce & puree & crushed tomatoes she got from the Italian restaurant by her house, but she always soaked the labels off first. I don't want them to be anxious about the future, she said. It's not healthy. — Brian Andreas