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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shape Shifting As A Talent

Put me in a group of people larger than five or six, and I would flash in and out of a number of different people's points of view so rapidly that it could make my head spin. I couldn't say a word. Gradually I realized that this "talent" for shape-shifting was a means to establish rapport - an essential part of my ability for sympathetic empathy. It was such a strong talent that I would tend to use it in ways that were inappropriate. Eventually I was able to stop it and start it at will, with practice. I didn't have to lose myself within this capacity and become wordless, which was a concern of mine at first.

Most importantly, this talent of mine didn't need to have anything to do with self-judgment. In fact, it worked best when I suspended any self-reference at all. I still sometimes scare people with how well this talent of mine can work to second-guess their needs. Especially if I just did what they wished I would do without being told. I've been known to show up like a psychic Angel to help them in their time of need, just as they assummed that they shouldn't or couldn't call on anyone.

If I was using that talent to be imagining a judgment of myself that was coming from someone else, it was purely a self-absorbed thing to do; I realized that I could just ask them if I wanted to know what they thought of me. I didn't have to second-guess what they thought of how I was doing as I went along, trying to read their mind and their body language. This is why I would become wordless in a crowd.

So there was a time when I asked everyone how I was doing, how I appeared to them, what they thought of me, etc. I did this to put to rest this fear I had that I appeared to others to be lying because I could surrender my own self-interest and empathize with so many other people's priorities. Asking these questions of others about what they thought of me made me realize that most people are very much more self-absorbed than I imagined. Not having a sense of my own point of view was, in a way, not a brand of never gaining my own sense of self, but a skill that resulted in actions that made me and others happy. It was such a pleasurable act of being able to imagine successfully that I could be inside of everyone else's point of view as if I were them. This "Shape-shifting" was a "talent," not a disadvantage in many situations such as teaching. But now I more often will ask if it's OK if I use this ability on behalf of someone. The ability to second guess what someone wants you to do has been called "Co-dependant." It was interesting determining for myself what is "co-dependant" behavior and what is kindness.

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