To See Ourselves as Others See Us

One of the best things about being married to my wife is that she is, both loyal and honest. She will, therefore, tell me when she thinks that I’m doing something that, maybe, I shouldn’t. So it was over the weekend when we were talking about our families.

One of the things she managed to tell me was that I was in danger of becoming a grumpy old git. Apart from the fact that I was a little unsure of the “in danger” bit, I had to admit that she was right. As a result, some effort needs to be put in, yet again, to change something in my life. Now, this has two main effects on me, one of which is to make me angry that it’s me who has to change, while the other is an acceptance and a determination to do something about it. After all, if others see you in ways that you would prefer that they didn’t, then it’s you who needs to do something about it and not the other way around. In addition, of course, a grumpy old git isn’t a persona that anybody should want.

Now, I’ve long been aware that this person, who I see as helpful, amenable and interested in others, can also be rather abrasive and political. I have tried to explain that way by saying that I’m not very good at small talk whereas, in certain situations, I can be. I also know that there are social situations in which I feel like an outsider. I know why this is and I need to do something about it. Unfortunately, this can be just those situations where, as a speaker, I need to “network”. Utterly counterproductive.

Which leads me to another of the benefits of being married to this particular wife. You see, she will then talk about how I might go about this in simple, practical ways.  For example, in those wider social situations, I need to demonstrate that interest in others that I show with close friends. I may also have to accept that some people are happier with their lot than I think that they should be.  She then went on to say that I was, probably, one of the widest read people she’d ever met and, surely, I could find something to talk about as a result. She, not only, made it sound pretty straightforward but also provided me with the road map. Much as I try to do with others yet, often, fail to do for myself.

Oh to see ourselves as other see us.

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