Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Learning by example

I have always been a spoiled child.  Pretty much got what I wanted by kicking and screaming.  It's all fine and dandy, until one becomes an adult and realizes that you can't kick and scream to make friends.  Also, having lived a sheltered life, for the most part, I realize that I haven't been fully socialized.  I am awkward with people - talking to them and being on their same level and trying to understand them.  How is it done?  For the longest time I struggled with it, but then I started watching people and learning from their example.  Mostly, I observed my cousins and how they are or are not with their friends.  I would analyze their friendships and try to get a feel for the "good" ones.  It would be my perception.   Do I want that kind of friendship?  If it was a friendship I liked and admired, I would observe closely and see.  Also, if they had friendships that I did not particularly care for, I would observe what I did not like or what I felt was not good to do in a friendship.  No, I'm still not good with friends.  Even today, I fumble.  Even today, I try too hard and realize that it's the one thing you are not supposed to do.  I am still learning.  I'm learning because I didn't have the opportunity to learn these lessons in my young age.  Or I lacked the maturity.  Severely, lacked the maturity.
Friendships are fine and dandy but it's the same with basic socializations.  I'm still trying.  I've figured out that through my life, I have learned best by example.  Watching and emanating.  It's like reading books about successful people.  What did they do?  What were their traits that made them get to their pinnacle?  Some of it is basic but sometimes the basics are important.
The other thing about traits and observation of people and socializing is watching people you don't like.  Or watching behaviors you don't like and then looking at yourself in the mirror and asking the hard question:  Am I really like that?  God forbid!  If the answer is yes, then one is able to make a change and make a decision that it's not a good idea to behave like this.
I watch my husband and when someone asks him a question, he goes off on a tangent for a million years that the person asking the question forgets the question or even forgets that they asked him a question.  I think about the oil painting vs the photograph analogy that was given to me once.  Someone explained to me that I gave people a 12MP picture of the event when people just wanted a sketch or a blurry oil painting.  Not everyone wants all the details.  "Some people just want the painting!" is what a friend of mine had explained to me.  I have always known that I'm long winded and don't answer a question directly.  I have to go into detail and even for an yes or no question, I would need to set up the reasoning behind my answer.  Aaaah.  I understand other's frustrations now.  Working on changing that.  It's not easy.  Examples and watching others is how I have learned.
I have also learned to tone it down (a bit) while playing games.  It's interesting.
I have a very aggressive game playing family.  You win or you are nothing!  Being nothing is worse than being a loser.  There's also the etiquette of winning.  You have to rub it in people's faces.  You are stupid!  That's the dumbest thing I have ever seen!  I have come to understand that it's all great if you are dishing it.  Isn't there a hidden rule that if you are dishing it, you have to be able to take it.  Through playing games and in general, I know people love to do the one-sided dish it, but they absolutely cannot take it.  I see that and I have made mental notes to be on both the giving and receiving end of it.  Also, I have observed the anger thrown at unsuspecting people and feelings getting hurt.  When I look in the mirror, I have decided that enough was enough.  I wasn't going to be one of those.
Last time I played a game with my brother and nieces, I smiled and played fair.  I wasn't overly aggressive and I just played.  While my nieces tried to be overly aggressive or unfair, I smiled and just played the game without trying to be mean or hurtful just to be so!  I don't know, but maybe it was Karma.  I won!
I'm surprised that I still learn by watching.  I look at people I admire and realize that I could be that.  I could be a better person.  My cousin once taught me a valuable lesson.  I was on a trip with her and I can't recall but I got into one of my fits and was very upset.  It got to the point that I was not budging. I didn't know how we would get past it.  And then, like magic, she let me have my way.  To her, the relationship was more important than being right or wrong and thinking back, I can't recall the situation and I honestly can't recall if I was in the right or not, but I learned a valuable lesson.  About myself and about her.  About myself - I learned that I was just a difficult person to be with and I didn't need to be that way.  About her - I learned that she valued people and relationships and was the better person after all.
Maybe someday, I'll be a better person than I am now.  Maybe.  There's hope.  But I'm looking at all of you and when you exceed my expectations and behave in a way that represents a special kind of humanity, I'm watching.  And hopefully, I'll learn yet again.
Thank you all for reading this,

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