What do you want people to know about you?

How we perceive ourselves and how others perceive who we are can be two different things. There is so much of our life that’s spend inside our heads and our hearts, we just assume that this information kind of bubbles over enough that people get a sense of who you are.

We tend to see ourselves in 3D, while others only see an outline, our shadows, a 2D silhouette at best, when in reality we are far more than could ever be conceived of or explained in 3D.

People do not see who you are as a person, they only have access to a limited amount of data, which they measure with their own prejudices to draw a conclusion about who they think you are.

It’s certainly not enough for people to know what you do for a living. Often we are judged and categorized by our jobs, or job titles, which hardly indicates who you are as a person, but nonetheless, once someone has learned about your career, they automatically associate certain attributes to you, and once they’ve done that they don’t really care to know who you really are because they’ve already made up their mind about who you are.

Concerning what you do for a living, even though others have an idea of your functioning roll in what you do, they have no idea why you do what you do, or for whose benefit. Far more than what you do, you are a complex variety of skills, strengths, expertise, gifts and special abilities, as well as having a unique purpose and message that makes you who you really are.

People who have a high degree of efficiency in delivering their personal array or their true identity are identifiable and unlikely to be lost among the mob, tribe or community where they reside. Other people get a sense that there is something different about them (if they only knew, there’s something different about all of us).

Starting with what you do, or your job title, stop letting others define you by your title. Instead of saying what your title is, or what you do, interject some unique details about you, because I guarantee, as much as you do the same thing that everyone else does in your job, what you do is unique, because you bring something to the color and flavor of what you do that no one else can duplicate.

In order to adequately present who you are to someone else, you need to have a good working knowledge of who you are. You may not give this much thought, because no one knows you better than you do, and you just take yourself for granted. But put it into words and write it on paper, who you are.

What are your skills, strengths, expertise, gifts, special abilities, purpose and message?

Write them down.

Once you have your list ask yourself, which of these things do I want other people to understand about me and who I am?

Now, you’ve got something to work with. There’s a good chance that more than half of the things on this final list of what you’d like others to have an idea about you, they have no clue.

Once you have this list it’s on you to do the work of finding ways to expose these important facets of your life, otherwise people will only know you by what they see on the surface, like “He’s a stock broker, who cracks people up with his jokes.” when you are so much more than a broker with a good sense of humor, but if that’s all they see, then to them, that’s all you are. Additionally, they have likely made judgment calls based on their person prejudices based on you’re being a stock broker as well.

So, it’s up to you to find ways to let the real you shine through, if you want people to see you for more than what you appear to be on the surface.
If you don’t want anyone to know anything about you, and you’re more comfortable keeping yourself a secret, there’s nothing wrong with that. In this case, you need to be true to you and protect yourself in any way you see fit. These recommendations are not for you.

The idea of publicly declaring and defining who you are as an individual is only for those of you who have a desire to present yourself individually to your peers, and to separate yourself from the pack, for whatever reason.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

We all know that things are not always as they appear, yet widely we still tend to base our opinion of another person based on a very small data sample. As much as we know that we don’t like people to judge us, reduce us to a structured personality profile, assume that we are a particular kind of cat or two-dimensional caricatures; still we tend to do this when exposed to another individual whom we might not know very well.

Our first impression of someone will influence and spin everything they say or do from that point forward to support our initial opinion or generalization of the kind of person this person may (or may not) be.

dont judge a book by its cover things arent always what they seem matchbook

In business, some of the best talent to support your organization comes from the least likely candidates. Often someone who does not interview well may bring the most significant impact to your organization. They might not look the part, dress fashionably or have the best social skills but what they bring to the table can far supersede your more trendy hires or associates.

Of course, we don’t just tend to judge people by their appearance in the sifting and sorting of the hiring process, we judge people based on our own impression of them in all areas of life.

There is the homeless person holding the “Will Work for Food” sign, we don’t think twice before making an immediate evaluation of this person, even though we do not have a clue who they are, what their position in life is, whether they are genuinely broke or not.

When we’re on the prowl for a potential mate, book covers enter the game again. This one’s not handsome/pretty enough, not tall enough, too short, bad taste in fragrance, shoes or jewelry. Then, of course, there’s the number one book cover, “What kind of car does he drive?”

Especially if we’ve been around the relationship venue for some time, we have a whole list of items to disqualify any potential suitor who might come our way, based on our own personal bias and experience.

In a supermarket, you could hear someone in line repeat a particular phrase that sets off all kinds of bells and whistles and you immediately jump to a conclusion about what kind of person this is based on a string of seven or eight words that triggered your psyches.

If you’re on the lookout for demons, you’re likely to find them everywhere you look.

It appears the most judgmental people of all can be found trolling the Internet looking for people to insult, degrade and humiliate.

I know someone who poured their heart out on Facebook (alright, inadvisable, nonetheless) this person was waylaid by an onslaught of vile accusations and ridicule. All from one transparent, honest and open statement, let loose for the world to see; only to be made the subject of further abuse.

In the event that you get hammered by one of these haters, please try not to take it personal. They don’t know you, and they know no other way to make themselves feel better, than to put someone else down. It’s not about you, it’s about their nature, regardless of who you are, haters gonna hate.

Are you a hater?

If we look deep inside ourselves, as much as we would like to deny that we are “haters,” truth be told we are probably more like the haters in the way that we judge or falsely accuse others based on very little information. Some people are falsely accused and sentenced to prison, for being less than desirable.

What can we do about it?

Well, on social media, if you see someone’s post that seems crass or insensitive, maybe check out the individual’s profile to see if he/she is the type of person that you imagined they were based on a few words on a public post. You might be surprised to see a lovely person, who might even be a considered a “friend” if you met him/her face-to-face.

You just cannot rely on your first impression of a person based on a single statement, like or share. You do not know who they are, what’s happening in their life or what caused them to respond in that way. Chances are, if you had walked a mile in that person’s shoes, you would have done the same thing.

And it’s likely that you have liked, commented and posted something questionable, you’d rather not be defined by at some point. Nowadays, it is prudent to think before you post.

You might consider getting used to the idea that there are other people who are a lot more like you than not. These people also have histories, families, hopes, dreams and beliefs just like you (though dissimilar) and that’s okay. Isn’t it?

If not, not to worry, there’s room for you, too… and we love you anyway.