I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting to get a different result. I always liked that saying because it rang true to me. So many of us do this, even though it’s illogical.
But last night I heard an even better definition of insanity…I saw the movie “Unknown” with Liam Neeson. (I know, I’m behind on my movies.)
At one point his character says, “Do you know what it feels like to be insane? It’s like a war between being told who you are and knowing who you are.”
Bells went off in my head when I heard him say that! For throughout my life, those are the times when I truly felt like the world was upside down, like I must be crazy, like nothing made sense, like I couldn’t convey myself clearly — the times when someone else tried to define me, label me, describe me, and it didn’t fit with my own knowing of who I am.
I’m sure at some time in your life, every one of you has had this experience — when your own sense of self ran smack dab into someone else’s idea of you…and the two ideas didn’t mesh. You felt off kilter, like you woke up one day and found the sky was green — it felt like something was horribly wrong and you couldn’t right it.
For when you try to explain to the other person who you really are, they can’t hear you. Why? Well, because they have already formed their own (incorrect) picture of you, and (in most cases) are not able or willing to change it…even if it’s wrong. It’s enough to make you feel crazy…and thus its appropriateness as a definition of insanity.
Experts say that we form a first impression within 10 seconds of meeting another person, and that it takes many more experiences with that person to alter a first impression. In addition, our perception of others is affected by our own life experiences — in other words, the lens we look through is unique to us and will color what we see. This explains why it can be so hard to get someone else to see you for who you really are.
And then if you add, on top of that, the fact that many people aren’t being themselves — meaning that they are not expressing their authentic self 24/7/365 in all situations — it’s no wonder we don’t feel truly seen or heard. And this creates the sensation of a disconnect: between what someone tells us we are and who we know we are.
What we can learn from this is that it’s important to share who you really are, AND be prepared that others still may not see you accurately. Know that if you are being real, then it’s not personal — it has to do with their lens and what they choose to see or not see, and that’s not something you can control or change.
And if you want to feel sane, hang around with people who really can see you as you are, and who appreciate you for who you are and for who you are becoming. It’s amazing how great it feels to be with people who get you!
Have you ever experienced this? Please share…