One of my natural tendencies is to “manage impressions”. I would go as far as to call it a talent, because not only do I automatically fall into doing it all the time (to my own detriment), but I’m damn good at it. It wouldn’t really be a problem at all except that it’s easy to lose myself in the impressions I create. It’s problematic, because if you’re manufacturing an image, playing to your own sense of other peoples tastes, it’s kind of hard to be yourself.
Saying that is kind of a contradictory though, because it’s in my nature to do this.
It’s an element of myself that works exceptionally well. At least when I still have a clear grasp on my own values, intentions, and desires. One of the downsides being that it adds to my own sense of isolation; it makes it more difficult to genuinely connect to others. Still, those tend to be outweighed by the fact that people feel they can connect to and be comfortable around me, and that goes a long way in the world we live in. All of this seems to leave me at a question…
How do I really feel about my habit of managing the impressions I make?
The answer is pretty simple: No bad habit goes unrewarded; if you know how to us it to your advantage. That applies to all of them too, not just impression management. I have a lot of self-doubts, I second guess myself more often than I’ll ever admit, and I’m usually insecure in one way or another. But those only become a problem when I don’t actively use them for something; left to stew in the back of my mind, they get corrosive.
Quietly and subtlely put to use, allowed an acknowledged place behind the scenes, they work wonders in inspiring ideas and decisions. Kept out of sight, no one really knows about the messy process of making those choices, animating those ideas. Hidden, they make a hard thing look easy. Same thing with the way people percieve me. They may not know all the messy details of who I am, what goes on in my head, but they can see me in motion.
Summed Up & With a Word on the Price
Managing the impressions I make isn’t about pretending or being fake. It’s not a habit of insincerity. It’s a habit of reservation, or measuring how much of myself I put out there, and how I put myself out there. The drawback is that it can lead to a sense of isolation. While people seem to find it easy to connect with me, through my eyes the connection is usually a distant one. Mostly I’d say… maybe that’s the price I pay for keeping personal shit personal.