4 Important Life Lessons About People

Few people will ever give you the straight talk. There are so many guides out there that tell you "how to please other people" or "how to land that utopian career," but they will rarely ever tell you what is really necessary to get there. They will gloss over the hard truths, like the 22 hour workdays, the eggshell lifestyle you will have to adapt to, or the hours of difficult and meticulous study that is required to get to the top. While it is possible to succed in life and/or be the life of the conversation, few people will actually take the time to personally help or even care about you, and even fewer will tell you how to handle yourself in a way that works for you

However, I'm not like most people. Many have committed suicide because nobody would actually be their friend and they couldn't figure out how to live when the entire world gave them the cold shoulder. There's a reason suicide is never expected; its because nobody bothers to say they are in trouble because nobody believes them. So, I'm not going to pamper you and tell you how amazing the world is; how everybody wants to be your friend and nobody will ever do anything unfair or cut in line to get ahead of you. No, the real world is tough, but you can be tougher. Here's 4 life lessons I've learned that I'm about to divulge free of charge.

Lesson 1: Few People Will Tell it To You Straight

There are few people in this planet who will actually give you the straight talk. Most people will be quicker to kick you to the curb than be your friend. Everyone is looking for what pleases them; it's just a tenet of human nature. Few people will actually be prepared to tell you exactly what's wrong (or right) with you and give their unadulterated input on your affairs; even if you ask. 

If you can't be honest with them, and they can't be honest with you, then don't make them your best buddy. A true friend won't be afraid or distasteful of your full, unadulterated self. If you can't be you around that person, then they shouldn't be your best friend, end of story.

However, the flipside is that nobody wants you to be honest with them, either. This means that, to get by in life, you can't be blunt with everyone. This doesn't mean spending the rest of your days as the greatest con artist to land the job and the friends and the beautiful wife and kids in the house in the Hamptons. But what it DOES mean is to become good at reading people, and to actively search for the people who are not afraid to tell you what they think. If you find someone who is not afraid to be blunt, make them your friend. Sure, they will tell you things you don't want to hear, and it will feel like getting kicked in the stomach, but at least you'll know what's wrong, and you can't fix something until you know what the problem is.

This also does not mean that you can't speak your mind. There is almost anything that can be spoken, so long as it is delivered correctly. Learning about Socionics can certainly go a long way toward figuring out the best way to phrase something toward a person. Now, notice I said "almost anything;" there's a reason for that. Some things are better left unsaid with certain people. Everyone builds their own Potemkin Village, and some people just can't handle being told they are living in one. This is why it is important to find people who can handle you telling them they are fakes. They will hopefully reciprocate the notion and you will both be living and improving the reality you both live in. Having a better reality is better than having a great Potemkin Village; there's more effort in looking amazing than being amazing, since being amazing is natural.

Lesson 2: Know What You Are and What You Aren't

An identity crisis is hard on everyone. They don't call it a "midlife crisis" for nothing; when people look over their life and realize it wasn't what they wanted it to be, they get scared. I don't blame them, feeling unaccomplished sucks. However, much of this can be solved by knowing who you are and what you're like. The best place to start is the Bible. There are a lot of harsh truths about the state of mankind and what we are truly like, AND about Who the solution is. Knowing our heritage can give us comfort through knowing our limits, strengths, and capabilities.

Earlier I mentioned learning Socionics. There is a two-pronged importance for this. Firstly, as already mentioned, it teaches you about people and what to expect with a certain type of person. Secondly, your personality type can help you better understand yourself and what you're capable of, both positively and negatively. Understanding more about yourself will help you be more forgiving of yourself because you can better understand what happened and why.

As an aside, people will normally tell you to be more like them. They will tell you to think like them and act like them and not to be yourself. Don't listen to that. The best person to be somebody else is them, not you. However, look for people who will tell you how to be a better you. Look for people who will tell you what you did wrong and how annoying it is. Then, tailor a response based on what you're capable of doing from first and foremost reading the Bible and looking to God for guidance, and secondly from your readings from Socionics.

However, no matter how candid and helpful your friends are,  sometimes it's difficult to look at things from a bird's eye view. At times you will have to see something in motion to understand what happened. A great way to do this is to record yourself interacting with others. The best way to do record yourself is to have someone else unknowingly record you (it could be video if it's at a party or something, but audio should suffice for other occasions, besides, it would look pretty weird if there's someone following you around with a video camera) for a large period of time interacting in a group and individual setting. Perhaps getting a friend to do this unexpectedly would be the ticket. The reason for being on the record when you think you're off of it is because we all act differently when we know we are being recorded, even if we try to ignore the changes we want to make to avoid looking bad on the recording. However, sometimes nobody will want to do those sorts of things, so you'll have to record yourself. If this happens, just be yourself and record.

Analyze what happened in the tapes. Do you sound like a jerk? If so, then now you know. Are other people treating you with disrespect and trying to avoid you? Now you know. Eavesdropping on your own conversations can give you an amazing perspective that you were hithertofore lacking. Sometimes you'll find that what you perceived as you being a jerk is actually other people treating you like garbage and you trying to connect with them but being shot down.

If you sound like a jerk, then you can begin working on fixing what made you look like a jerk. I'm not saying change who you are, but I am saying to fix what's wrong and make it better. You can't be someone else, but you can be a better you. Don't ever look at these tapes and try to fix your personality type. This isn't about changing you. It's about tailoring you. Think of your personality like a $5,000 suit. When someone buys an expensive suit, they normally get it tailored. This doesn't mean that they change the fabric, and the color, and the style of the suit. All it means is they adjust the finer points to make it look good on them. That's essentially what you're doing. You're tailoring yourself to look better, not discarding your whole personality.

Lesson 3: If She Can't Handle the Real You, Then You Can't Handle Her

You may have noticed a common theme at this point: the people you want to fix your life around should accept you for who you are, be unafraid to tell you what they notice, and help you be a better you. This should also be a primary character trait of your spouse or significant other. Love is a noun and a verb. It isn't a feeling or moment; it's a lifestyle.

Outer beauty is deceptive, and anyone can make themselves look like a model with the right fashion sense. However, people who are truly beautiful are willing to accept you as you are and help you be a better person. If she (or he) doesn't like who you are, then she won't like the better you. If she thinks you're annoying when you open your mouth or do something nice for her, then she isn't worth it. There's a guy out there who is perfect for her, and there's a girl out there who will be perfect for you. It's better to find someone who is accepting of who you are and willing to make you better, than to live your whole life attached to someone who doesn't appreciate you and your relationship with her causes nothing but suffering. Again, true friends and spouses will accept you for who you are and tell you the truth and how to be a better you. They will not try to turn you into someone else. You're you, not someone else. Remember that.

Lesson 4: Help People Who Need It

There are other people who have the same problems as you. There are other people who need an accepting, straight-talking friend who won't treat them like dirt and tell them to live someone else's life. These are the people you should befriend and help. I'm not saying that your entire friend group should consist of people you are helping, although if that's who you are then why should I tell you differently? However, helping others live a better life is doing that person a (literally) lifesaving service.

So, in addition to looking for good friends, look for people who need help and help them. Also, be real with your friends and help them in a way that best serves them. If you want something, then do that something for someone else in a way that will be accepted by that someone else. With your friends, be honest; with people who need a friend, be a friend and help them in a way that will be received. If you want someone who accepts you, tells it to you straight, and tells you how to be a better you, then do that for your friends and those you are helping. If we help other people be more Christian and be better versions of themselves, then we are helping other people be better, which could save lives and help more people down the road.

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