Crowd pleasers

A friend, who is a performer, was recently lamenting that too many people seem to prefer his on-stage persona to the reality of him as a person. It made me think about all of the people who are judged, or misjudged upon appearances or equally unimportant attributes. Of course we all know the cliché about not judging a book by its cover, and the advice is sound, but upon what should we base our first impressions? Can anyone withhold all judgment until the depth of a new person has been fully plumbed? How would one go about deciding how much time should be spent with an individual if decisions are all indefinitely suspended, waiting to get to really know the person?

Sadly, the greater onus has to be on how you represent yourself. We all display a version of ourselves for public consumption, and at some point it is necessary to take some responsibility for how we are received. While there are some things that can not be erased, they can be mitigated. A gentleman of my acquaintance is 6′ 5” tall with a powerful, athletic build. There is no way it can escape anyone’s notice that he is large, however, he does not give off a threatening first impression. He cultivates a quiet calm, keeping his movements fluid and graceful to a degree that is soothing. He is at heart a very gentle man, which makes being in his presence rather like resting under a giant, old oak tree rather than the sensation of some dour cliff looming above, threatening to come crashing down.

Sometimes we hide things about ourselves, wanting to save them for those who are closest to us, perhaps only to those we trust the most.  Whatever reason we have for withholding pieces of ourselves from display, we must remember that while it makes it hard for anyone to truly reject us, neither can they accept us.  Holding forth a mask that everyone adores is a hollow victory.

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~ by friendlycurmudgeon on January 14, 2012.

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