Friday, September 28, 2012

The Human Experiment

As I've indicated probably numerous times, I have high standards for the people in my life. That being said, I feel they're fair. I have quite high standards for myself - too high sometimes in fact. I feel that I'm a good person that treats people they way they deserve to be treated, and therefore, I look for the same in return.

Through a few recent "epiphanies", the seemingly-obvious-yet-somehow-not realization hit that my goal of everyone treating me the way I deserved, the way I treated them, was not coming to fruition, and probably never will. So, I've decided to work on a human experiment. Don't worry, this isn't the Matrix. It's not something that requires some sci-fi-like life changing decision on the part of the subjects.  Instead, I'm actually doing this to try to change my attitude. Because it's taken me 33 years to finally, finally realize, that I can't change theirs. I decided to take a "what if" approach, to see what can happen if I change my interactions with others instead of getting stuck in the same rut.

What if....

  • I tried to look at why someone was acting the way they are from a different angle instead of expecting them to act the way I hoped? Maybe I'm interpreting their actions one way when they mean to portray something else? Sometimes I honestly think I give people way too much credit for being deep and profound when really they're not thinking much about what they're doing/saying at all!
  • I smiled and said hi to everyone that frustrated me. Maybe I'm just in a rut with them, and it's me sending the wrong signals because of that?.*
  • I gave them the "fresh start" I always hope people will give me? If a friendship/relationship is stuck, and you want to improve it, one of you has to start the reboot. I might have to be the one give them the clean slate instead of the reverse. In doing so, I might actually be providing the clean slate for myself as well. 
  • I stepped back and looked at my expectations. Am I expecting them to be someone they never will? That's my fault, not theirs. 
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone? I am a brave person, but I am very afraid of rejection and embarrassment, as I've written about in the past. But I might have to risk it to get past a rut or to get someone to open up. A friend recently told me, "well if you wanted to be included next time we do xyz, just tell us." Of course my response was, "No!  I don't always want to ask. You should think to include me!" There I go again giving people too much credit.... 
  • I stepped back or away temporarily?  If people know they can treat you however they want and you keep coming back for more, they'll do it. It you' I'm not saying stamp off in a huff. I'm saying people can't miss what's never gone. I think this is a last ditch effort, but some situations might require it. 
*Note on bullet point two: if someone is truly treating you badly, you may need to jump right to the last bullet point. No one deserves to be treated like a virtual or literal punching bag. When I mention being friendlier to people that frustrate me, I'm talking about little annoyances, not being the ideal friend but has the potential to be better. But there is a time to walk away, or at least take a step back. If you feel you're being emotionally, physically, or otherwise genuinely mistreated, time to step away. 

 Do I worry about people being concerned that they're part of this "experiment"? Not really and here's why:  1.) It's kind of an honor - it means I value you enough to try to adjust things. This isn't a test for you, it's a  readjustment of my attitude towards people. 2). To be honest, the people that I feel require this probably aren't reading my blog anyways. In fact, if they in time respect and valued me enough to read this on a regular basis, I'd probably figure that my attitude adjustment towards them is successful. 

So, this is my challenge to myself. I think if I give it a month, I can start to see some results. I'll keep you all posted. I'd love to hear other suggestions, thoughts, or, if you decide to try any of these in your own life, the results. 


  1. HI Maya,
    Thank you for dropping by my blog recently ( absolutely love this post. You are right on the mark with your bullet points and I really needed this reminder right now.
    Thank you

  2. Thank you, Shauna. I am glad you enjoyed this post. It's something that I have realized recently I need to really work on. I've seen your FB and twitter posts but recently discovered your blog as well (not sure how I missed it previously) so plan to be stopping by more often!