“I can’t figure you out.”
This line is said in movies (and maybe in real life?) when a character learns a fact about someone that surprises them. For instance, if Anna, hot-nerd-turned-cheerleader, learns that the equally hot football quarterback, Jeff, volunteers at the nursing home every Saturday and lets Gladys beat him at chess every time, she may say, “Who are you? I can’t figure you out.”
What Anna is really saying is, “Who are you? I had a whole set of attributes that I assumed you were based on what little I know about you and you aren’t fitting into that mold. You are confusing me!”
“I can’t figure you out” puts the onus of explanation onto Jeff, who is all of a sudden not fitting into the mold that Anna created for him. But why does Jeff have to explain to Anna that the assumptions made about him are wrong? She is the one who decided to put him in a box and operate from those assumptions.
What if we stop trying to figure out people? What if, instead, we take in each of the things we learn about them as independent details and be curious and learn more?
This is very much counter-human. We start making correlations and assigning attributes to people from a very very young age. This skill works really well when we are small children and with immature cognitive power, need to be able to trust or not trust people. As adults, we can release that skill because we can take in nuance and understand that people may possess various traits that are “polar opposites.” And I use quotes because why are they polar opposite? Because of assumptions we’ve made on those attributes.
Let’s stop trying to figure people out. Let’s stop putting them in boxes. Let’s stop making assumptions. Let’s take them in for all the things they are.
A daily practice challenges the person who creates on “inspiration.” We have to mother everyday, and ultimately, it is the daily grind that gives us perspective, clarity and the “high’s” of motherhood. I am exploring if the same happens when I write everyday on the topics that normally light me up – motherhood, self-development, healing and creating. Sign up here to receive those thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.