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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Why Reveal Your Own Motives?

My life has been the answer to this virtual question that keeps coming up for me. I hope that there must be a way to suspend judgment and act without avoiding an emotional commitment to having a point of view. This is sort of a mouthful that might not make sense to someone reading, so I'm going to explain it further. Essentially I keep asking, why do anything or say anything? How do my actions mean what I want them to mean?

At first, I decided that perhaps I needed to assume a point of view in order to suspend it. I thought about this quite a bit, and decided that assumming a reason to do things is not commiting to a conclusion; it most often comes from my motives for wanting to help-contribute, create-discover, belong-bond or play. Also it comes from my natural ability to observe and see connections and patterns and use my brain. My motives to do things were most often one or a composite of many of these. The reason it was a point of being misunderstood was often that the percentages of the mixture of them were often tricky to assign in a hierarchy to make people respond accordingly.

I also constantly questioned the potential value of what I was about to say - or refrain from saying, in many cases. I wished I would speak up more often, and berated myself when I did. But I didn't do it from an uncertainty about myself, I did it from an uncertainty about how others might react to what I might say - because I felt so often misunderstood.

What stopped me from talking or acting came from my doubt whether I would be believed in the spirit of what I was offering. I would think, "why talk, I'll just create endless misunderstandings." It probably happened because my beginning skills at presenting my ideas/emotions were lacking, except perhaps in my sense of beauty via making art.

If I dared to say what my motives were, I had even my own doubts about being believed - like pearls before swine, people would use it to manipulate me if they knew about me. People so often reacted as if how or what I said was designed to deceive or worse, because this is what they would think of to do with such private information about a person. This distressed me. Whereas if I painted a beautiful picture, everyone could agree it was positively beautiful and I even won awards and money because of my art.

Many people around me berated me for thinking about ideas, for being able to sense what others missed, for having a quixotic sense of emotional justice. People said I "think too much." It took me a long time to realize that most people aren't affected the way I am by experiences. I'm a great deal more sensitive than many people, it seems. Or more sensitive and more willing to express myself in hopes of finding more playmates. Hoping, "God makes 'em, and they find each other" - Neil Schiemann.

As a kid I also had this incredibly sceptical look on my face because my bullshit detector kept going off around grownups, which probably contributed to being treated as if I was lying by them. As I got older, the culture changed, and my point of view became more in style. Somehow I learned enough to be a much better communicator for the tipping point to occur. Now I do not have the trouble I used to have being misunderstood. If people try to hurt me intentionally, I am no longer vulnerable because of a reluctance to set fair boundaries. I used to believe that love should be unconditional. Now I do not mind putting forward exactly the justice I think should be fair.

I still have some mismatch going on in this area of self-presentation, so that the things that I value the most and have found to be the most useful in my life are the very things that I have the most trouble 'marketing.' Communication of content is in a sense, marketing it. I feel that so much marketing is a hyperbole deception of lies justified by greed. I feel as if I'm telling the truth, then at the same time I sort of switch places with the point of view of the other person. There I am imagining that they are wondering how much of what I'm saying is a lie and is designed to get them to give me money. All this brings my own needs into question; and I do not need much so I am most often willing to sacrifice for others. Deep down I act as if I think what is most valuable is free, which is totally an impractical conviction to hold in my culture. I'm afraid that people value their education and services that I can provide in proportion to what it costs them.

So I've been experimenting with declaring my motives. I seem to find some understanding from certain people who have become my friends and admirers, although it continues to be a difficult thing to dare to continue doing. I want to thank some of you for being some of those people I know who will think deeply and express it honestly to me.

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