February 2nd, 2011


LJ Idol Topic 12: The Sincerest Form of Flattery

In all of my life, the only people who have given me any sort of negativity that has really affected me in any way is my parents. This sentence alone would seem like they are mean and cruel, but in reality it's a good thing. My dad has these phrases he always states and restates many times. The first and foremost is "Don't talk to hobos." because he is over-protective and doesn't like me going out of the house. Another very popular one (and the most annoying one) is "Learn to clean up your MESS." because he is a neat freak(I attribute to the Aspergers) and hates when even one thing is out of place. The third is "In this world, only you and your mother and MAYBE Justin care about you . You are not important to ANYONE else."

The last one is a trio of meanings. It's is his way of instilling one of his favorite philosophies : "friends are over-rated", recognizing my importance to him and mom, and stating that whatever I do will not influence other people so I should not be influenced by them.

My father also seems to believe that if he says honest yet harsh things to me, I will be hurt and motivate myself to change. He has called me fat consistently for many years and weekly asks if I've gone on a diet yet. He always insults my intelligence, which probably has had the most detrimental affect on me. He insults my clothes because I like to wear his clothes and one of his favorite nick names for me is schmorovoznik"(slovenly person). He insults my hobbies as being "infantile" even though I tell him the proper term is "immature". And of course there is the cleanliness because I don't shower twice a day and I don't keep my room immaculate like he does. So I stink and I live in a trash pile. Unfortunately, dad never learned that positive reinforcement rather than negative has been proven to be much more effective so largely his criticisms have just been mild to moderate annoyances though all these years.

People other than my parents usually don't compliment me, which I would say is normal, but I have noticed that people also rarely insult me. I honestly can't think of a time in my life when I have been adversely affected by someone else's opinion of me. Throughout school, I was made fun because I did not fit in, but other than one occasion I wouldn't say I was bullied. I wasn't fat when growing up and when I did become fat, it wasn't proper to make fun of that anymore. While I have plenty of mean things to always say about my boyfriend, he very very rarely has anything mean to say back (he is a much nicer person). He has called me spiteful, highly impatient, and spoiled which is just about the extent of his criticism, usually done only when I am being particularly mean. I actually do try to consider his criticism because it's very rare to see I merit it and I would say that I do.

I value honesty and integrity above anything. While I like other houses better than Gryffindor, I have always considered myself a Gryffindor and reaffirm it through lots of house-sorting quizzes. I consider myself more honest than most other people but I often do struggle to keep my mouth shut because I also don't like to portray myself as a mean person most of the time.

I think that America is more of a bullshit country than some other nations in that the culture allows for more white lies and flattery and less honesty. It is difficult to tell someone their negative qualities but if you don't, how do you expect them to acknowledge that? If you don't like something someone else is doing, why can't you tell them to stop doing it? I think that I acknowledge ALL my negative qualities internally and if I don't it's either because I do not consider them negative or I am not aware of them (highly doubtful).

On another point, Americans are very tolerant of so many things. You may not realize it considering your idea of tolerance could mean tolerance of ideas, but I'm talking about annoying behaviors and general tolerance. I can't think of how many times I've been pissed off at loud annoying music both at home and on the train. Like most Americans, I grind and bear and do not tell them to knock it off because they are disturbing the public. A German coworker told me this week that no wonder people go crazy and kill people here. They tolerate too much until they go crazy. These kinds of behaviors would apparently not be tolerated in Germany due in part to their more direct culture.

If someone asks me for my opinion or a question, which also rarely happens, I will give them an honest answer. When I was visiting my friend in Australia, his aunt wanted to ask me if I thought his mom was a worry wart. I said "Oh definitely!" She replied with "NO TEA FOR THE BOTH OF YOU!" Immediately my friend was so happy that I was the only friend of his who ever acknowledged this. I am highly blunt with my friends who can handle it. I actually view this as a progression of friendship. Am I comfortable in giving them criticism? I still do it with reservation because I still find that most criticism is unwarranted and the person will not change so it's better not to say anything rather than be critical and have them annoyed at you.

If I had it my way, I would leave a comment on everyone's entry. Since the beginning, I leave comments only on entries I like (unless I absolutely have nothing to say and there are already a lot of comments) and do not comment on the entries I don't like. I think that most people are like this but sometimes I just want tell you all what I don't like about your writing. It's mostly my tastes, but I think I would place the vast majority of my criticism at : "You didn't try hard enough" and "What does this have to do with the prompt?" Maybe I will do it when I'm closer to being voted out.

I wish that people would criticize me more. To me, it's a form of flattery because either I would pass it off as a compliment (the "bluntness" criticism) or I would be more introspective about it and see if it is something I should be trying to improve. One person has told me that she wishes she had as much self-confidence as me and that was a quality that I seemed to exude to her. I am not sure if I strike others at being particularly self-confident. I have learned over the years not to let others opinions influence me greatly mostly because people will not tell me what I want to hear: what they DON'T like about me.