I indulged in a moment of self pity last night. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that this is foolish and unjustified. I lead a very cushy life surrounded by comfort and love; by any reasoned measure I already have more than most can hope for.
My moment was probably triggered by tiredness more than dissatisfaction; a good night’s sleep has succeeded in restoring balance to my perspective. It has made me think though, of the impression we make on those whose lives we touch with our interactions. As an avid sharer of the minutiae of my life these moments have the potential to colour views and feed prejudices. What was a fleeting dip in my mood can too easily become how others choose to see me.
I know so many people who present to the world only a carefully edited version of their lives. They wish to be seen in a certain light and will keep private and hidden any aspects of their thoughts and experiences that do not conform to this image. My choice to be open about what I think and feel may appear to be more honest but, as only fragmented segments can be offered, these can come across in a very different way than was intended. How I see myself from the inside, knowing the reasons and driving forces behind actions, will not be how I am seen by others, however much I share.
Perceptions can be tricky to deal with. Manners and social convention exist to enable us to move through society in an acceptable way. Dealing with situations where people appear to have made a negative judgement can still be a challenge though. I sometimes find it difficult to know if I am being treated maliciously or if I am merely taking offence where none was intended. I guess we would all prefer if our detractors would disregard us rather than seek to subtly attack and make others see us as they do.
I am always grateful when my friends make the effort to spend time with me. Much as I enjoy and value social media, it is good to enjoy positive human contact from time to time. I do not expect to be liked by all but it is comforting to feel liked by some, especially those whose regard I value.
My fluctuating moods have been a particular challenge this year. One of my friends suggested that it is my age, which I find a great comfort as it means that the exasperating volatility will eventually pass. I can easily dismiss any momentary feelings of self pity as unjustified, but the despondency I sometimes feel can be harder to set aside. However much I may espouse Pollyannaish tendencies, I can still suffer some fairly dark moments.
But they are just moments. For most of the time I am generally fine, getting on with the quiet routine of living my life. I have a very good life and I am mindful of my many advantages. If I share a thought or a feeling then that will be what I am experiencing at that time. What happens next may be apposite, but could just as easily be a whole new chapter.