Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Weather as Proxy for Psychological Well-Being

I can't help but point out the obvious.  It hit me in the face when I overheard two people on the elevator this morning.

This was a whopper of a winter.    Really bad.

Oh, yeah, I agree.  I'm glad it is finally over.

I know, what a relief.

That's basically it.  But, here's the funny thing.  Yesterday's weather was exactly the same as today's weather.  So basically, we insert high levels of subjective filler into our objective statements.  On top of that, we say one thing about our subjective experience and mean another because we don't have a useful way for talking about the subject directly.  That part is intriguing to me because we willingly jump up and down after work/social engagement/etc. to talk about how we reacted to people, or how outrageous some people were/are and yet, somehow, we can't communicate directly. 

What would it be, too harsh?  If so, consider:

If we're bound to someone AND they provide harsh feedback, (we're bound to them to a sufficient degree that the feedback doesn't override the connection), then we're sort of forced to hear what they say and consider it, no matter how much we don't like it.

And that means we have to defend ourselves on our own terms, not just in a general qualitative assessment about our abilities.

Because, what's increasingly clear to me is that people are insecure in a lot of ways and that, getting over the insecurity is the hard part, not the other way around (gaining a skill or existing in a certain way).  We're insecure because we don't know where we stand or we're nervous that we don't have the highest possible standing.  The great solution to this is that we don't have to be best to feel good about ourselves on a daily basis.

The harsh way to say that is:  We're not the best at anything we do (and we don't even really approach best, i.e. we're barely standing in the shadow of best).  SO, we should figure out ways to act and interact that best highlight and leverage the strengths we do have.  And, the only way to figure out those strengths is to face some potentially ugly feedback.   To listen to the common themes in everyone's comments about the world.  To understand greater patterns, abstract yes, but applicable. 

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