not that easy

Are you a good judge of character?

It’s just not that easy.

I am a natural judge – learning to judge myself aright (a lifelong endeavor).

I do make pretty quick baseline decisions regarding whether I consider someone safe, whether I can easily trust them, want to know them, enjoy being with and around them. My fast brain takes over in that regard. It’s somewhat out of my control. There’s an intuitive, almost impulsive decision that is made, very quickly at the subconscious level. How someone carries themself, the amount of eye contact they’ll give, even the way they shake hands. A few sentences. I usually know if I like or want to know the person within a few moments. After that, slow brain has to take over. I try to step back from whatever my initial perception might’ve been. Engage the clutch a bit…allow the cognitive/analytical side to catch up with the impulsive/intuitive.

So yeah, being a “judge” is very natural for me. Very easy. But that isn’t necessarily a good thing. And I’m historically the worst in finding the speck in someone else’s eye, while ignoring the log in my own. I know there have been times when my own character was determined hastily, and that brought about significant relational difficulty for me and others. And that has been informative to me – gives me pause. Determining someone’s character is not something I trust myself to do well, in a moment.

How can character be known unless it is observed over time? This requires suspending my own preconcieved ideas and notions about “the other”. It means being intentionally relational with them. It also means stepping into relational opportunities with eyes wide open, understanding my own anxious ambivalent attachment style and how that can cause me to become overly entangled/enmeshed. And eventually, maybe, their character will be revealed.

It’s just not that easy.

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