Our personalities are like islands.
Everyone has a story. We all do, whether that’s growing up in a cold Russian village three hours outside of Moscow or in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Gore. They shape us, it’s our true CV. It qualifies us to exist on the world map. It makes us relevant. But what is the true value of having a story, what is the real reason we all need to experience anything?
The first time I ever jammed my fingers between the top of the window in the car, it hurt pretty bad. But it was a simple lesson that taught me not to stick my fingers out the window again. The first time I ever kissed my ex-girlfriend I kept my eyes open and it made her feel uncomfortable. There’s a reason I said she was my ex…
It would be fair to say that these small lessons eventually accumulate into really significant characteristics. They overturn our thinking, we learn, we develop. We gather a wealth of experiences growing up through childhood and we turn that into valuable insight. It becomes knowledge and our attitude changes because of it.
We learn in many ways beyond just knowing with our intuition. When somebody says, “don’t push your trolley into my car you a**hole,” you quickly learn not to ride trolleys around the car park through gaps that are too narrow. But nobody just walks off happily after being called an a**hole. It ruins your mood, you become affected by it and it ruins your day… It’s like trauma on a wee scale…
When something massive happens in our life, like graduating something or getting our first job, we remember that first day because our brain is on its edge and is constantly learning and experiencing new things. From what the job is about to what the break room looks like. Before a running race, we train our body how to handle different terrain. When our legs get tired we learn how to push through it. We learn muscle memory to help our body learn how to deal with the different stresses.
The first exam I ever went into my whole body structure was so tense that I had sweat dripping from my face. There’s nothing more frustrating than flipping over the first page and not knowing how to tackle the first question. This overwhelming pessimism that brings the rest of the exam way down into the floor.
Whether its riding trolleys into Mercedes, working our first day on the job or suffering through an exam, there’s no stopping the brain from going into overtime and creating this mental image of all experiences similar to be a trigger in their own ways. Call it intuition or superstition, there is no denying that our experiences shape the way we deal with stuff. Because our experiences are conducive to our personalities, and our personalities are like islands…
If you could imagine that our personalities were like a collection of islands. We are all visibly different. No two islands exactly the same. How we were formed is entirely to do with our history, what experiences we have been through. The scope on this is that understanding the way people work is understanding how relationships manifest themselves.
When I first started studying almost two years ago I made a really good friend in my halls of residence. He was fairly memorable with a highly competitive side that made him work really well with my personality. There was nothing off about him. We both played pool competitively all the way through the night even when we were supposed to be sleeping and getting ready for classes the next day, we really got along.
For a long period of time we got to learn about each other’s personal lives, how many chicks we’d dated, how many beers we could finish in one night, the craziest drum n bass artist. The list of relatable ideologies was endless. Until I went through a very rough patch. Basically, it was a time where I needed my friends to really support me and isolation was my enemy. So that’s when my mate stepped up to the task.
We stayed in this motel apartment, on separate beds, and were basically just roommates for a week or so. It was a stage in my life that I really needed to be lifted up because I was suffering some severe male dramas… At the offset of this period, it was decided that we and a few other mates of ours would all flat together in the new year.
So what we had was a basic understanding of how each person worked. The same way two islands trying to suss out a trade deal agreement would find common ground. In essence, we had studied each others terrain, what major experiences have shaped the other person, what had happened throughout my mates life that made him the way he was, what were his parents like, what was his social life like, just the basic stuff to really get the lay of the land.
At a deeper level, we would study each other’s natural behaviors. Did he turn into a dick when he was drunk? Were there any out of whack statements that he would spout off whenever he was having a bad day. Did he treat other people with decency and respect? Did he treat females with decency and respect? Was he intelligent and the biggest question if whether or not he was any good at doing the dishes!
Basic questions with significant answers. Getting to know the natural life that existed on his island, what were the native species like, would the pests and annoyances cause any upset or frustration on my island. How would that impact on the relationships I had already developed with other islands?
All that stuff was totally cool. In the new year, our flatmates all paid their bonds to secure our new home. Five bedrooms, one tiny kitchen, two tiny bathrooms. A collection of people all In one confined area. Not all people got along, there were some pretty hectic arguments at times. In a couple of instances, there were a few meetings where we talked about the damage that some of our neighbors were causing. Chairs were sat on backward, tables were turned. In a way, it was inter-island warfare. Passive and aggressive stabs at one another. All in the fight to maintain peace in our home and feel happy in our environment.
So this is the political side of the argument. Learning how to deal with other peoples stuff is also a massive lesson for your persona to change ever so slightly. It’s learning how to rely on others for support. As my friend was there for me during my roughest times, we all came together to defend ourselves as a collective when we were all tested at the worst of times. I guess you could call that an inter-island treaty settlements.
When you get to a really deep and meaningful stage of creating mates with new people, and an even deeper level of my blog, there is also the opportunity to get to know your friends’ friends too. So with my friend who I’d met and was flatting with, eventually I became friends with his mates from high school as well. Since that s, age we have shared a lot of memories together.
One of the most memorable moments I’d had with the boys was when my ex-girlfriend was texting me abuse from outside of our apartment block. Every part of me was saying, “go outside and apologize to her,” because I truly felt like it was my fault. After explaining the entirety of the situation to my mates eventually they were able to prevent me from going back to her place and potentially prolonging an inevitable break up.
One of the biggest extensions to having relationships extend to wider networks is that you create this protective layer. A network of consultants who can provide insights that you probably weren’t aware of. Having friends, for the sake of the extended metaphor, can deliver aid in times of need. Or can provide reinforcements when under siege. Both against bitchy flatmates, and bitchier girlfriends. So the clear message in that respect is having mates all around you effectively makes you less stupid.
Having a different perspective is a powerful way to get a clearer understanding of what you as a person actually look like. From someone who doesn’t know you, or has any particular relation. It can be a really powerful thing for them to get to know you, granted that they aren’t making any significant assumptions or judgments because let’s face it we are all biased. By having differing perspectives helps you mirror yourself, to see what you are capable of and what you aren’t.
Which brings me to my endpoint. If experiences and relationships feed into our personalities. If personalities are like islands. Then by trial and error, learning and stuffing up. Being supported and supporting others. Learning not to work in isolation. We become more robust. We become stronger overall. Not in the Trump way either, building walls is precisely the opposite of being tough. But taking a hit, getting abuse from your girlfriend over the phone, being called an a**hole at work, or jamming your fingers in the window.
Having friends there to wind the window down, having workmates who remind you that you are a really hard worker, and having your boys hang up the phone and remind you that you’re better than that and she is being a bitch. this breathes healthy growth. It promotes stability. It adds to your story and provides you with a more robust personality.
But remember, just because you got your finger untrapped, or even if you went on to become the best trolley boy in the world, at the end of the day you’re still just another island in a big old sea…
Thanks for checking in!