I think that as humans, many of us are naturally drawn to positions of prominence. Many of us know someone who has literally schemed their way to the top. They have manipulated and lied in order to advance their own agenda and get ahead in life without regard for the feelings or emotions of others. They show false attention and fake their way through relationships because they have ulterior motives. They don’t allow anyone to get close but keep up a facade of being easily accessible. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been on this whole INFJ tip the past few days where I’ve been reading more about my personality type. One of the characteristics of this personality type is that we are naturally intuitive about the motives of others and many times find it easy to separate the real from the fake when it comes to human interactions and communication. A while ago I was presented with the opportunity for a position of prominence. It was something that was a goal of mine and had been for the past several years. However, after I quickly accepted I almost immediately had a change of heart and rejected it. I just got a gut feeling that it wasn’t “right” and that there were hidden motives on the part of the person who offered it. It wasn’t like I was being paranoid, but I had such a strong sense that I would have to pay in some way for accepting it. I strongly believe that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. While I believe in being at least cordial to everyone, I also take great pains to distance myself from people who use others to advance their own personal agenda. Those are the type of people who will turn on you as quickly as they became your “friend.” I say all that to say that it pays to recognize and identify these types of people before they suck you into their webs of deceit and manipulation.
Like most unmarried young adults in my age bracket, I have a list of the things that I want in a significant other. Over the years this list has evolved from a paragraph to four pages single spaced in Times New Roman font. The list has been influenced by many things including past experiences, the observation of relationships and marriages, and the couples I’ve seen in therapy. It’s updated each year and undergoes a makeover with new details and ideas of what would be best. The thing about growing older is that it’s easier to become more set in your ways. As a result of this, the list of things you don’t want to put up with becomes longer and longer. There’s less room for flexibility because you feel like you’re on a countdown and you don’t want to have to try it multiple times to get it right. There’s less patience and a more purposeful intent. So the list sits there. Collecting dust on the hard drive of my computer. The funny thing is that while I rarely take the time to refer back to it, I still know and remember what it contains. The challenge with making such a list is that you have to leave room for reality. No one is going to be perfect and that’s something that I’ve always taken into consideration. Rules that were absolutes have not become preferences instead of deal breakers. Of course there’s the basics; love, respect, won’t beat me black and blue, and can be assertive. But then there are other things that would just make life easier in the long run. Everyone doesn’t come from a traditional two parent home and while that might make life a bit easier, it’s not something that I expect. The great thing about the list is that it lets you make decisions about people pretty easily. You can cut out a lot of unnecessary drama and save yourself heartbreak and time because you cut them off at the beginning because they didn’t meet criteria. One double edged sword in my case is that I’ve met my list. An individual who embodies all four pages single spaced of expectations, criteria, and preferences. Which, by the way, is not an easy feat. While I would never go as far to say that this person is the embodiment of perfection, I will say that they have some core character traits that align perfectly with the list. It’s been one thing to meet the list and another thing to interact with the list and have conversations. Does The List know that they are the list? No. And the jury is still out on whether or not they’ll ever get that information. However, maybe that’s the nature of the list. The fear of messing up a perfect fantasy with an imperfect reality that results in the admiration from a distance without action.
Back in May of this year I took a weekend trip to Dallas and was introduced to this book by some friends. I’ve always been wary of self help books, but this one was different. Lately I’ve been running into a lot of people who just seem stuck. They work, go home and repeat for years without really doing anything different. They always talk about places they want to travel to but they know they’ll never go. Their lives consist of the mundane without any plans to change their routine. I am deathly afraid of becoming one of those people. This book was honestly one of the top three books I read this year. It focuses specifically on becoming the best you that you can be by making use of your unique talents and gifts. Jakes uses great examples and simple language to encourage the reader to take inventory of his or her passions and then use them to make a difference in the world. The biggest challenge in doing this is that it requires you to get out of your comfort zone and leave the familiar. You’re exchanging security for freedom. But the end result to doing this is fulfillment and the opportunity to actually leave a legacy that you’re proud of.