par·a·digm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
I have always overanalyzed other people’s perceptions of me. Yes, I care too much what other people think of me. Especially growing up – I would take generalized statements that people would make about me or other people, and use it to form the generalized perception that other people had about me.
For instance, growing up as a homeschooler, I always felt somewhat like an outsider. There was this strange paradigm – within the homeschool community I felt like a “wild child” – mainly because I didn’t wear denim dresses and tried to look like a normal teenager. But then, around my non-homeschool friends and aquaintances, I felt like the total goody-two-shoes – EXACTLY the opposite perception.
(I was just having major blog-deja-vu, so I searched my blog to see if I’ve broached this subject before. And, voila! Here is where I have semi-discussed this before).
Another perception that I have always had about myself is that I’m very nerdy. Not always in a bad way, but my friends certainly do get a kick out of how unbelievably studious and detailed I can be. Especially in college. Whoa. Let’s just say that all of my college friends looked at me with these wierd looks, trying to figure out how I could find it fun and rewarding to study until I had virtually memorized every possible thing that MIGHT even show up on a test that was two weeks away.
However, over the past couple of weeks, I have gotten the paradigm shift to this perception via my blog about the Dragon*Con convention. Of course, being that I obsess over other people’s perceptions of me, I have been reading all of the comments on my posts, as well as all of the message board conversations about my post that I could get to (it’s REALLY a good thing I’m not a celebrity – I’d be reading STAR magazine cover to cover just to make sure they didn’t have a little article about me!!!).
Anyway, some of them absolutely love it (which makes me feel good!), some of them completely hate it (which makes me sad), and some of them just look down their noses at me as if I just don’t “get life”. But the overall general perception over all of these opinions is that I am the exact OPPOSITE of a nerd. They perceive me as a “typical” girl, who knows nothing about the things of nerds, who just goes about life, shopping and putting on makeup.
So, to sum up, I was a wild child but yet a goody-two-shoes; and I am a super-geek but yet a total shallow-girly-girl.
This is what I am terming Perceptional Paradigms.
So the only conclusion that I can come to is that the perception of someone is not nearly as built off of who that person is, but built off of who the person doing the perceiving is. We perceive others built off of the framework of who WE are. WE are the basis of comparison, and so therefore, all of our assumptions and perceptions of others is based on how closely they resemble us.
Does this make any sense at all? It makes sense in my head but I’m not sure if I was able to really put it onto paper. Or screen. Or whatever.
Are there areas in your life where you feel that you are perceived exactly the opposite of other areas?