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Tearing Down the Walls


Last week I wrote a post about folks who alter their appearance with excessive amounts of makeup or plastic surgery. Today I want to say a bit about another kind of cover up... the kind where people create bigger-than-life personas to hide the fact that inside is a kinder, gentler, more sensitive soul - and a more vulnerable one. 

We've all known folks who are just over the top with behavior, who will say or do anything to draw get a laugh or draw attention to themselves, often in negative ways.  They are usually loud, boastful, and sometimes downright obnoxious.  A little bit of being around someone like this goes a long way; it rapidly becomes tiring.  If you're subjected to it on a regular basis in the form of co-workers or friends-of-friends, as I have been from time to time in my life, you have my sympathies. 

In a well-known poem called Desiderata, Max Ehrmann says to "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, for they are vexations to the spirit."  Amen to that!  The energy they emit is disruptive and can easily distract you from being the kind of person you'd like to be.  Let's just say it doesn't bring out the best in bystanders!

What I've learned, is that these folks are often not nearly the pompous buttheads they appear to be.  If you watch and listen carefully, and take time to get to know one a bit better, you just might discover that underneath that bold, egotistical exterior, lurks a gentle soul and a marshmallow heart... carefully concealed and protected by a wall of self-generated hype. 

There is nothing wrong with being a little loud or a little crazy, or even with being an entertainer of the masses... there's just a time and place for it.  Sometimes the people who behave like that forget to take the wall down now and then and just be themselves.  Maybe they think it's too risky.  What if folks didn't like them as much the way they really are?  What if no one wanted to be their friend?

We are all vulnerable, and we all use different means to avoid getting hurt, but sometimes we do that to the extreme, and to our own detriment.  The blog world is a place where I've seen some amazingly well constructed walls come tumbling down,  first with a tiny peep hole in the bricks, then sharing enough of themselves to allow us to get a glimpse, and maybe finally tearing down that wall and replacing it with a doorway so we are free to exchange the true depth of our thoughts and feelings. 

Blogging affords a small degree of anonymity, and a safety valve in that you don't have to see how the other person responds if you say something very personal and they think you're a complete idiot, or worse.  We tentatively offer bits of ourselves, then maybe more, and at some point realize that there are folks who can relate and who yes, really like us just as we are... warts and all, maybe even clown suit and all!

If you're tired of putting on that show for the world everyday, give us a chance to know the real you, you just might be surprised at how positively folks respond.... and anyone who doesn't respond kindly to the "new you"  probably wasn't a real friend to begin with, they were just riding on the coattails of the show.

9 comments:

  1. Well said, Josie. So so true. I think in the blogiverse and in real life, there are people with walls-some that aren't loud and boisterous but closed and quiet, that are worth getting to know. I like what you said about watching and listening closely-I do that with people.

    I think where I am is finding that line between how much to share and much remains personal. Ultimately, what I hope to do wih each post is be real and offer encouragement in one way or another.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    1. Very true, Carrie, there are also those quiet, reclusive folks who have a story to share. Sometimes they are mistakenly labelled as aloof, but I don't think they so much try to put on an act as they do try to make themselves invisible. I know, because I've been known to do that, especially in social situations.

      I agree that it's hard to decide how much personal information to share on one's blog. I share quite a bit, but I do think a person can be real without divulging a great deal about themselves, it's more about being genuine, presenting the person you really are and being open to what others have to say as well.

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  2. This is a great post. It's an important point, too.
    Of course, there is another side to that wall...those who hide, for whatever reason, pain, fear, trust issues. But that is another post...
    We could talk for days! And then some!
    Thanks for sharing what needs to be said & heard.

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    1. You're right Annie, those are also reasons a person may choose to hide. Many of us deal with some of those issues or have in the past. Trust comes very hard for me, but I'm slowly regaining my ability because of Papa Bear and the great folks I've met here. Sometimes trust is misplaced, but not always, so the risk is worth it!

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  3. I rarely disagree with you, Josie...but I am going to do it now. In my experience, those sorts of people are really pretty unappealing human beings even if you strip them down of their arrogance. My brother in law is one of them. Obnoxious. Loud. Arrogant. Selfish. A monologist. And I have spoken with him one on on and tried hard to see into his better self. I can't find it.

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    1. Actually, we don't really disagree on this point, Maria. Most definitely there are some folks in the world who are just plain obnoxious and rotten to the core! I've known a couple in my life, and I know you have too! If there is a silver lining too them I've been unable to find it. I'm willing to concede they may have been damaged somewhere along the way (dropped on their heads perhaps??)but definitely not people I want to be involved with. I'd like to think they are few and far between, but I may be idealistic about that! :-)

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  4. Yes there are many people who are like that and then there are some who really are just loud and obnoxious...........my brother inlaw is one of those who really is just loud and obnoxious but then my sister who can come across as being loud and obnoxious is not with her it is just a show and in reality she is a lovely woman with a kind gental soul............

    It is hard for such people to let down their gaurd and allow people to see the real them..............

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    1. LOL Jo-Anne, see my above response to Maria! Maybe your sister has adopted that persona to copy with your brother-in-law's behavior - "If you can't beat them, join them?" If that's true, it's even more sad. I know at more than one time in my life I've found myself led into being someone I'm really not. That might be another good post topic!

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  5. I know a few people who are quite loud and always the life of the party but have the souls of poets. Then there are the others who are just loud and obnoxious all the time. It is always important to look below the surface because not every person is as they seem!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)