On Being Perceptive

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It’s pretty difficult to fool me. I’m extremely intuitive and perceptive. I notice a lot of things and I’ve always been that way from an early age. Sometimes the ability to read people so well can be a curse just as much as it can be a gift. Reading others helps me to figure out who I should avoid. It also helps me predict what kind of behaviors a person will engage in. If provoked, I can expose or play on a person’s flaws and insecurities. I rarely like to do that though but I will if pushed to it.

As perceptive as I am I rarely speak on the things I notice, which typically causes others to underestimate me. I’ve learned that people do not like to have their flaws brought to their attention and can get pretty hostile when you do bring them up.  They’d rather pretend. It’s actually kind of interesting, the things that people do when they think they’re fooling someone.

This topic was partly inspired by a conversation I had with  someone the other day, a person I’ve been hanging out with very casually and getting to know. When I brought up their reluctance to open up and share things they playfully responded that they preferred to remain a mystery. I playfully responded back that I ‘m perceptive, thus making it all but impossible for anyone to be a mystery to me. I facetiously went on to say that I’m more than willing to pretend like I don’t notice things and allow this person to think they are a mystery. Of course that got the wheels turning. They immediately wanted to know what kinds of things I’ve noticed and when I revealed a few truths to them they were completely surprised. Not once did they stop and consider whether or not I truly bought the image they were trying to portray, they just assumed I did. It hadn’t occurred to them that they were dealing with someone who looks past what’s on the surface.

I’ve come to realize that we all do this to some degree, cultivate relationships with others using what I call a “non authentic self”, a version of ourselves that we want others to see that may not necessarily be who we truly are. Some people don’t want to be themselves–they may be ashamed of  who they are–while others don’t know how to be themselves at all. Much of that has to do with not being comfortable in your own skin, not trusting others enough to open up, or holding this fear of being judged by others. We have to remember though that we can only fool some of the people some of the time while the rest see right through us. And no relationship (friendship, family, work, romantic) can ever be genuine if you aren’t going into it openly and honestly. Yes, this includes being yourself.

As for me, I allow others to be themselves. I never judge a person for the type of person they happen to be nor do I try to change them. We all have our strengths and we all have our flaws, they are the things that shape us. We should be equally accepting of all the things that makes us who we are.

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