Saturday, July 16, 2005

Do I smell?

It sounds like such a simple question, but in actuality, it isn’t one you can ask of yourself. Granted, there are those times when even you are aware of the fact that your body is putting off an abnormal smell, abnormal in the sense that you recognize it, but how about your “normal” state. Is it possible that we “smell” in the sense that we are not giving off a pleasant smell and are totally unaware of it? The answer is yes! While this post is NOT going to be about unpleasant smelling people, it is going to about the fact that we can be in one state and be totally unaware of it, as scary as that can be.

Having done some research, I’ve found that 100% of the time (even though researchers like to state that NOTHING can be measured to be 100% of the time), you are with yourself. What do I mean by that? I mean it is impossible for you to get away from yourself (as sad or even scary as THAT might seem as well…HA!) Yes, I would be willing to guess that in however many years you happen to have been alive, yourself has always been by your side. ;)

It is because of this state, the state that we are always with our self, that we can’t possibly know if on a normal basis we “smell.” This is due to the fact that if we are always with our self, therefore we are unable to get away from it in order to know what it could smell like not being with it. We are accustomed to our own smell. Basically, our normal smell is all we know for how we could smell.

Make sense?

So, when considering the question, “Do I smell” it is necessary to involve a third party (i.e. yourself being party #1, your smell being party #2, and another individual being party #3).

Now, while the topic of how you smell might be interesting to you on occasion, it lingers toward the bottom of these types of questions that are important. This type of questions being references is none other than the questions that require someone other than yourself to be answered. Though I’m only taking minimal time at this moment to think about it, I’d venture to say most, if not all, these types of questions revolving around one’s self. And because of that, they are the questions about one’s self that you can’t possibly answer since you can’t get away from yourself to see them from “the other side.”

Hmmm…..think about it…

What I’m trying to get to in this is the importance of people in our lives (sorry, I know you’re thinking, why the crap did we just go through all that to get to this point, but hey, I think it is a good way to look at it, so there! HA!)

I can remember when only years ago I could be found saying “I don’t care what people think.” It was like a statement of pride; shows how tough I am; what people think of me doesn’t matter to me. But today, I’m less likely to make statements like that, or if I do, they normally have a disclaimer after them. Let me explain…

We need each other. Not just to tell us if we smell, but to help us to be a better person. If we are not fully aware of the ways in which we act, how can we behave in the most pleasing ways? If some part of our personality causes us to behave in a particular manner, and we can’t get away from that sort of behavior (once again going back to the fact that we can’t get away from our self), how are we to know if that behavior is annoying to others, or unpleasant?

Without others, we can not be the best person we can be. We must get input from those around us to know of areas in which we could use change.

We should care what others think; however, we must know how to take what others think as well as what of the things people think should be used for self-change and what shouldn’t (but that’s all for another blog...HA!)

I can honestly tell you I love input from others. Whether it comes out sounding as praise (as I think we all enjoy), or comes out sounding like a criticism. Whatever the case, we all need to hear it sometimes.

Still, nothing is more helpful in life than getting the honest truth from people. We all need to have people in our life that we can rely on for the truth and these people will be people you feel you can trust. These people should be relied upon to tell you when you need to work on an area of your life, but also, and just as importantly, they need to point out areas in your life in which you shine! We all need encouraging feedback from those around us!

I’ve recently been recollecting on fun and memorable times from my past years in undergraduate, and one time I have been reminded of when thinking through these times was a time in which I got feedback from some dear friends that I’ll never forget.

It was in January 2004, and I was with most of my fellow GATA officers at our officer retreat in Conroe, Texas. One of the activities on our agenda that weekend was a where we sat around a table as a group and did just that, gave each other encouraging feedback. It was an activity some of our officers in the group had learned from a Willard Tate weekend class, so we did it as a group of officers. The jist of the activity was that we went around the table and each person was the “person of the moment.” When you were the “person of the moment” you were required to tell about yourself for 60 seconds; talk about your interests and what you think about yourself or how you think you come off, etc. Once your time was up, everyone else at the table would have to talk about you, they would have to say what they have grown to know about you, or what they see in you as a person, etc. Though it has been over a year since I was involved in that activity with my friends, I can truly say some of the comments and feedback I got from those ladies stays with me today. Granted I can’t remember what everyone said about me, or even what I said about all them, but I will never forget the words of some of those women.
Some feedback we during our lifetime will live with us forever. We need encouraging feedback from our peers, our friends, our family, etc. We need to know about ourselves from the outside looking in.

On January 21, 2004, I challenged the Women of GATA in a newsletter to tell two people just how important they are to them that day. I can tell you I received words from women that day that will always be with me as well.

Today I want to make that same challenge to you! It doesn’t take but a minute to write someone an email, or drop someone a note in the mail, or even to pick up your phone and call. If in a three sentence email you can have impact on a persons life that will last for a lifetime, isn’t it worth your minute or two? Tell them what you think of them. Or, more importantly, tell them what they have meant to you; they might never have even known!

No comments: