You are a GRUFFALO (by Bookaneer)

{ It’s always a pleasure to me reading intelligent rants from the youth. Here is a brilliant one from someone who uses the simple name Jo. And Jo told me ‘it’s just a rambling post’!- poch }

I have a habit of living in the past. Memories that have long since lost any emotional connection still appear in my daily life, taunting me. Although, I now think “well that happened four years ago, maybe it shouldn’t annoy me so much”. It’s not even big memories, its clangers of conversations, or when I fell over (and I fall over a lot). But they still appear, and I still cringe, even though I don’t need to. I’m not the same person I was three, four, five years ago. I have some of the same traits, but they’ve matured or adapted to fit who I am now.

An interesting theory in psychology, is the thought that we are not one person, with visable traits. We are inherently social beings, so our traits change depending on where we find ourselves. We aren’t always outgoing, if we are alone in a room or in the waiting room of a dentist- we wouldn’t say hello to everyone (especially if we’re alone…). Even the most introverted of people has someone that cancels their introversion, an old friend, or family member. But then, they aren’t truely introverted, because there is an occasional where they act as confident as someone who boasts extroversion as their preferred trait.

Thoughts like these are useful, if you are different in every situation (bearing in mind “work” is a collection of the same situation repeated daily) then you can’t be defeated in the face of new challenges. Oh, I’m not good with new people and I like everyone I meet can be reversed easily. Can you truely like everyone you meet? Watching big brother, does anyone still pretend this is a social experiment, shows how quickly even the most open and amiable person is can decide that they like everyone…except that rude person. While it would be easy to embrace that each situation shows a different aspect of a person’s character, people will instead excuse these momentary blips with a situational change. I am an outgoing person…but I’ve just never liked big crowds. I get on better with men that women…except for old friends in school. I’m not an anxious person…but presentations remind me of school.

Everyone does it, so it’s an accepted social norm. We are X except when we are not. The personality tests that we do in magazines, in psychology lectures, on the internet (although “what kind of fairy would you be” shouldn’t really count) are all based on how we see ourselves. If you filled out the test, and then asked your parents, best friend and someone who just met you, to fill out their observations of you, how different would they all be? They might see you when you are more social, more anxious, more friendly, more intelligent, more caring.

But how do you find your own traits? A law of averages? Or is it when the memories of your past are most salient? Ten parties where you don’t talk to anyone new, and one where everyone knows you by the end of the night, so is remembered more. Yeah, you’re more extroverted than introverted. You are more red than blue. You are more of a dog person than a cat person.

So memories of the past shouldn’t bother my head, it was one situation. It didn’t test my concrete traits, as they may not exist. It was how I behaved in one situation, and is only salient as it was incongruent to the rest of my behaviour. The square piece in an averagely circular puzzle.

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About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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