Friday, March 28, 2014

Everyone is Beautiful

Everyone is beautiful in their own way. One of the great secrets to establishing good relations with others is to be receptive to all of their positive traits, which encompass appearance, personality, character and intellect. Observing and remarking upon these positive traits is a surefire way to win points.

Those who are closed to other people, who do not offer eye contact, who do not listen and do not observe others carefully and are not receptive to others, such individuals cannot hope to enjoy good relations with many people. It is necessary to learn the names of other people. It is necessary to pay attention, to observe, to mark the words and gestures of others. At great cost, certain individuals fail to do these things.

Few people offer allowances for those with poor social skills. I am one of the more tolerant people. I perceive when someone seems rude only due to lack of social skills. They may not mean any harm. They just don't know how or don't have the aptitude to do what is required.

There was a young man in one of my classes who was despised by the other students and the teacher. His thoughts were always racing along. His impulses seemed so important to him that he would speak up continually throughout every class. I suppose he thought that by sharing his thoughts, he was being good and helpful. Perhaps he thought that the teacher and the other students would think more of him. In reality, no one else shared his high evaluation of his thoughts. They rather felt that he was wasting time and basking in attention just like a little child. He talked too much and did not perceive the lack of interest in his audience. He lacked social intelligence.

Toward the end of the class, some students made their ugly feelings clear to him in a rather abrupt, one might even say cruel, manner. I am not sure whether that was the right thing to do. I disapproved of what they said. I am glad I wasn't the one to do it. I remained uninvolved.

I am reminded of my own behavior many years ago in sixth through eighth grade. Was I very different from him? No. The truth is that I was similar. I would raise my hand to speak up in class and say things just because I was bored and wanted to redirect the lecture to subjects that interested me. Sometimes I wanted to say something funny to make people laugh. More often, I just wanted to show off my knowledge. I had an excellent memory for any academic subject. I loved history, science, and language.

Some of my classmates and teachers appreciated my input, but some didn't. On the whole, I was unpopular. I was perceived for what I was--a show-off. Those students who had difficulty with school did not appreciate being made to feel inadequate. In this way, I made enemies among classmates I scarcely knew. I was often surprised by the vehemency of their animosity, much like the young man I have described above. I am sure he did not see his classmate's collective revenge coming. I saw it coming, because I have been where he was. All too well, I know how the general run of people behave when they encounter behavior they dislike.

Many unpleasant experiences, many painful episodes passed before I changed. My teen years were incredibly painful, just nothing but a series of losses--social, academic, and psychological. All my plans were ruined. All my friends, best friends too, turned their back on me. My family almost turned its back on me. I was alone. I was broken.

I did change, and thank goodness for that. It remains a mystery to me exactly how I evolved from what I was then to what I am today. I think that I was broken by trauma and severe depression. For years, I walked in darkness. I saw light in the darkness, even in the darkness, and by that light, I rebuilt myself. I rebuilt myself into something different, something new, something better than I was before.

When I see someone who reminds me of what I was before, I cannot despise him or join the other students when they mock him. I have a sense of deja vu.

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