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The best kind of surprise

July 24, 2011

“We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.”-Malcolm Gladwell

“Whatever makes an impression on the heart seems lovely in the eye.”-Sa’Di

Good evening SQers! Hope that you have all had a good couple of weeks and were successful in some measure of instilling some kindness within your own life. I know that technically I owe you all a post for taking an unplanned hiatus last weekend, but that’s why this week will be a doubleheader with me posting again on Wednesday.  So as well as enjoying today’s post keep an eye out for one later in the week.

Everyone always tells you that your natural instincts are extremely useful. Often a handful of the mistakes we make in life are not from trusting our gut feelings. I wouldn’t argue with that branch of logic because your instinct is cultivated over a period of years and the sum of all of your experiences making it an excellent resource. Is instinct always right? No not always particularly when it comes to situations that involve complicated variables like people. 

Regardless of how open-minded we think we are or try to be, we all judge. Implicitly, we form assumptions about everyone we meet from friends & family to complete strangers.  Anything from “dear god that outfit is horrible” to “something about him just looks untrustworthy”. Those impressions can be muted but ultimately form a foundation for your relationship with someone. That’s the reason first impressions are deemed so  important since theoretically because going forward you can’t replace them.

As fundamental as first impressions are, we fail to realize just how fragile they can be.  Growing up, we rely on our impressions of the world to learn just about everything.  As we grow older, we learn that they can be misleading and to decide for ourselves how much emphasis to place on them.  One of the most important lessons I have learned in the past few years is that first impressions are fragile and often false. 

To illustrate what I mean, I’ll give you two examples based on my own experience. Person A is someone who I immediately pegged off the bat as an arrogant guy who thought he walked on water and was better than just about everyone else. If you listened to some of the things he said it was enough to make your jaw hit the floor or make your blood boil out of sheer ridiculousness. As far as I was concerned he was uni dimensional,  a polar opposite to me  and wasn’t worth my time. Little did I know that just a couple of months later, I would end up talking to him quite a bit. Shockingly, there was some depth to him and he turned out to be a halfway decent human being.  We’re currently still friends. Person B is someone who I instantly connected with. The two of us had plenty in common, same values and jived in harmony. Never had a fight or an argument.  Again, I was given another wonderful surprise as this person proved to not at all be the person I thought they were.  When I needed her she let me down in the worst way and things evidently proved not to be as perfect as they had once seemed.

Instincts and impressions are not as foolproof as they might seem, but at the same time are not futile. People surprise you sometimes for a more positive outcome and others in a more unsettling way. Be careful how much you let your impressions govern how you treat other people. Don’t get blinded by your impressions!

Property of cartoonstock.com

Well that’s all for now. I hope you start your week on a great note.

See you Wednesday, 

❤ SQ

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