Driving (#6)


I distinctly remember the months in which I took my driving lessons. My brain has them catalogued as the worst time of my life. Never before or since have I felt so much anxiety all. the. time. I was terrified and angry at myself and upset with my instructors and in general, things just sucked.
However, the worst part was probably that I loved the idea of driving. I could see myself in an old red convertible, speeding down Route 66 wind in my hair shades on my nose blasting an epic cinematic soundtrack.

One of the main problems I had with driving was the awareness of not being alone on the streets and not being able to estimate my 'new' radius. It's obvious that other cars wouldn't just disappear once I got behind the steering wheel but the picture I had painted in my head was just me by myself on the highway without deadly threats looming left right and centre.

In a way, we all face a similar conundrum every day. The fact that we are not alone on this planet and that we can't always quite predict the impact we have on each other puts us on a very slippery road. I am often amazed that (in general) we all manage to navigate and communicate in this world.

We all have a certain image of who we are. Actually, we know our personalities better than anyone else. Then how come others might see us completely differently?

For this problem, I like to imagine myself as a driver in a car. I am behind the wheel, I know how fast I'm going, can tell how long until I need to fuel up and I can hear what's playing on my radio. I can also see the road in front of me but the side windows and the mirrors only allow me to see parts of what's behind me. Also, the roof of my car and underneath is not in my view. Anything could be happening there. Additionally, in true human nature, I won't always be paying 100% of my concentration to traffic. Thoughts might distract me and may make me forget to activate the blinker, turn off the bright headlights and will not make me notice the angry gestures of the driver coming at me.

You knew all of this. We know that we can't influence how others see us all the time. But it is in our power to - say - paint our car red, yellow or blue. And then others will see a red, yellow or blue car.

So, what happens when you don't know what colour to paint your car. You will probably pick a neutral finish like silver or black because you don't want to label yourself so distinctively. Now people might think you're an assertive person, not adventurous, safe, boring perhaps.
You're not - it's just that people can't hear the music you're playing in your car.

So here's a question: Will it make life better if you make people see your true personality - ditching the car metaphor now - or at least your personality in the way you perceive it? Will it make you happier? More vulnerable? Or more confident in the long run?
And if you haven't got yourself quite figured out yet - hello most people - is it better to display the diversity going on in your playlist (god, jumping through metaphors here) or to temporarily pick one trait/aspect to showcase as "your main thing"?

So sorry if you came here for answers. This is not one of those places.



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