Like it or not people judge. Some justly and some unjustly.
- The way you present yourself is the way people will unconsciously treat you based on their unconscious biases. Some are stereotypical.
For example, if you dress up in shabby clothes and look unkempt you will probably be treated like a homeless person. If you dress up with lots of make up, a short skirt, and have lots of skin showing you’ll probably be treated like a slut or prostitute. Likewise, if you’re a minority such as a black person and you dress up with saggy jeans, golden chains, and other gangsta attire you’ll probably be treated like a gangster.
Sometimes these impressions are warranted and sometimes they are unwarranted. Biases form in our head because of certain trends, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But acknowledging them and how they play a role in how people treat you is important.
- Appearance, clothes, and body language are all initial factors in how people perceive you.
Going along with the past point this is quite obvious. In general, I don’t think there is any reason against not dressing one level about the cirumstances you have to be in. However, keeping appearances and body language to match are important.
Humans have filteres in their brains to seek out incongruent behavior and question it. A gangseta who is all dressed up nicely in a suit will probably have part of his appearance and body language still give him away if you thought about it closely.
This is the importance of identity. If you know who you are and who you want to be then all of your behavior will become congruent and you will be the person in the image you want to be. Many people think that this is “faking” or “trying to put on your best behavior” but in reality it is becoming who you want to be.
It is not a bad thing to play a role with certain responsibility. Would Jesus have been effective as He was in ministry if He constantly dressed like a leper or cross dressed as a woman? It doesn’t speak much about what Jesus wore or His appearance — except on the cross — but I would imagine that His appearance and dress were that of a Teacher. It is was spoken of Him that He taught with authority unlike the scribes and teacheres of the law.
This is not to say that personality and personal development aren’t useful or important. They are extremely important. However, if your appearance, clothes, and body language do not match you will be fighting an uphill battle.
- Once people have biases in your head about who you are then they will treat you as such. If you do not like how they are treating you then you have to correct them of that notion.
It’s easy to see this play out in a parent-child interaction. If a child starts talking back to the parent the parent will hopefully gently correct as opposed to harshly rebuke the child about talking back once a decision has been made.
Similarly, if someone is being disrespectful or dishonoring because of their preconceived notions then you have a choice: will you let it slide or will you correct them of that notion?
Most people let it slide because they want to avoid conflict. However, the fact that you let something slide unconsciously or consciously demonstrates to the other person that they were correct in their assumption. They will continue to keep treating you like that until you speak up if ever.
However, if you do eventually speak up there is now a past history. The past history reinforces what they think about you, and you are fighting against that past history to change the view of the person who you are talking to.
For instance, if a woman assumes you are a friend and then you spring the I want to be a relationship card on her and you haven’t escaped the friend zone, then you are stuck. A woman that has assumed that you are a friend has this past history of you as a friend, and it is unlikely that her mind will be changed unless there is an instance where there is definite attraction. The magnitude of the “friend” the more upset a woman will be because of the incongruence of the situation: she thought you were a friend but you really wanted more. Her “past history with you as a strong friend” is butting up against your “new found interest.”
- Establishing a strong initial impression with all of those you meet is critical to success in relationships.
This is the conclusion we end with at the end fo the day. It is much more difficult to change someone’s opinion of you after you meet them, especially the longer it goes. Thus, having strong first impression is one of the most important parts of relationships. It sets the whole tone.
Obviously, relationships can be turned around although they will require substantially more effort on your part if they are not going where you want them to go. In cases with interest in women it’s generally not worth it to try to fight against past history; rather, time is better spent on establishing new relationships with women.
In most cases with other people, you will be fighting against them to turn a relationship around. For those who were obese they initially receive support for their weightloss. However, as they continue to lose people start commenting that they are losing too much weight, developing an eating disorder, or other negative things even though what they are doing with healthy.
- Developing internal characteristics of strength of personality is more important than initial appearances.
This is so-called internal beauty. It is character and and a willingness to fight the uphill battles if people have the wrong impression of you. However, it is not arguing about their wrong impression of you. This will get you nowhere and even lessen someone’s image of you. Rather, it is letting your actions speak for you.
If I get defensive about something then I only affirm their impression of me. This is very difficult to accept because we think that we havet to defend ourselves from wrongful impressions. However, defensiveness only shows that there is something to protect, and that something to protect they are pushing on as a button for some reason or another.
If they’re wrong then it’s water under the bridge to you because you know it’s not who you are. Why get upset about something that is not who you are? It’s a waste of time and energy. Rather, let actions speak for themselves by letting your yes be yes and your no be no.
If they’re right or partially right then admit the truth. People respect those who are are authentic about themselves. That’s one thing many people do not do, especially Christians in this age. Christians believe they need to have the perfect image and be unwilling to admit mistakes because it will make God or themselves look bad. This is false. We admit we mess up and sin sometimes because we are human; however, we to repent and turn from our ways because of the Holy Spirit within us.
- People do not like change. Any perceived change around them is perceived as a threat.
Part of establishing an initial impression is to also establish the impression that you are constantly growing and maturing. This takes work in your personal life, but it is important for other people to know because if they start to perceive changes in you without warning they will be threatened. Most likely because they are not growing and changing as well.
Yes, it is an insecurity on their part, but when you deal with people you have to deal with them insecurities and all. This is difficult to accept, but it needs to be accepted. While you can’t help people change who do not want to change, you still have to deal with them and their biases.
This is why it is important to examine your own insecurities within your own identity. If you can work through them all with the help of God then conflict becomes a piece of cake. You do not get offended and want to argue about things that you used to. Rather, you can be kind and compassionate when you see that the other person is hurting and needing comfort. Their anger is only an expression of past wrongs or hurtful behavior that they have experienced from others.
- Eventually, as you grow you can start to change the culture around you and develop into a leader
Growth and exerting positive beneficial effects on those around you through your personlity and excellence in all that you do will eventually assert you as a non-commissioned de-facto leader of those around you. People will look to you for decisions and evaluation of situations because you have built up that factor of trust with others where you respond well.
This is ultimately what we are aiming for as Christians as this denotes a strong foundation of character through consistently walking in the fruits of the Spirit and in Truth. You are someone who doesn’t get embroiled in useless controversies, but can be relied on in conflict situations to stay cool with a clear head and make good judgments. This is all built from the ground up with character and stepping into the roles and responsibilities above.
However, this end result is not by chance. It is a daily walk of teaching people how to treat you built into lasting bonds of trust through character and hardship.