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I have had a blog post roaming around in my head for a few weeks, but haven’t sat down to actually type it out. Today the thoughts in my head were said out loud…by someone else. I think that is a sweet sign that I need to finally sit down and type it all out.
We know that our physical features are unique to each one of us. Even identical twins have their own look...just ask their mother. The emotional side of us is just as unique...a unique emotional fingerprint. The way you react to something, or the way it makes you feel, are unique to you. I believe this is partly because of the way we are hardwired and partly because of our unique background that has lead up to that exact moment.
I am a crier. This is the way I am hardwired and I have come to terms with it. Someone once told me that my parents named me appropriately because my eyes are always misty. I have heard stories about my non stop crying when I was baby and my aunts taking turns trying to shut me up. My earliest memory of crying was in Preschool when my mom decided to let me stay for a full day (instead of the half day I was used to) and I cried because they made me eat peas, brush my teeth, and take a nap. (I wish someone would make me take a nap now) I loved school and looked forward to going back every fall, but that never stopped me from crying on the first day, every year, even though I was excited. I cry when I think about losing a loved one (even though they are all healthy) or imagine a great moment that might someday happen. I cry when I’m happy or when I’m sad. I cry when I’m angry. I cry because other people are happy or sad or angry. I cry at commercials and I cry when I read books. I am hardwired with leaky faucets and this is a part of what makes me unique.
I was very involved in Residence Life when I was in college and it played a huge role in shaping who I am today. When I hear about someone becoming involved and taking on a leadership role I get very excited, because I know what an amazing experience that can be for them. At the beginning of my college experience I struggled to adjust and cried every day (imagine that). I would not have made it without the wonderful women on my hall; those residence life leaders who made it their mission to make me feel welcome and wanted. When I hear stories of people having a hard time at college I feel for them and pray for them to find the people who will help them create wonderful memories. I have a soft spot in my heart for people who are struggling at college and for those people who wake up every day focused on helping the struggling get through because I have been on both sides of that fence. That is part of my unique background that gives me a little bit of a bleeding heart with college students. My background has made me more compassionate of those struggling freshman and a little prouder of those upperclassmen taking on the leadership roles. When I see people in each of these roles the level of admiration I have for them is one that many people would not understand. My college experience is a part of my background that makes me unique.
Everything you do, everything you experience, every opinion you have plays a part in shaping the way you will react to something. Everything that has happened in your life effects the way you will react to the next obstacle/opportunity/conversation/moment that comes your way. You are unique and you express yourself in your own unique way. You do not have to be upset or happy about the same things your neighbor is upset or happy about and you do not have to show your anger or happiness in the same way they do.
Imagine this: Your boss sends out a memo stating that the office will be closed on Friday, so you get the day off, but will not get paid for it. Do you scream, kick, and call HR about the situation? Do you thank your boss for the additional day off, thus creating a 3 day weekend? Do you silently accept it and go about your day? Are any of those responses right, or wrong? We each respond in our own way based on our personalities and our background. As long as we are not intentionally hurting others (kicking) we are entitled to be upset, happy, or indifferent about the memo. One persons anger may be screamed while another persons anger may be quietly kept inside. Each person is entitled to express their emotions in their own way.
Next time you see someone who is expressing (or seeming to not express) emotions that you don't understand remember that they too are unique and have the right to react in the way that is appropriate for them. They are showing you their emotional fingerprint.
I do not believe that it is ever appropriate to express your emotions in a way that will intentionally hurt someone else. With that being said I think it is important for us to remember that the way people react is because of who they are and when you see someone responding in an inappropriate way we need to remember that there are circumstances leading up to that. It's not ok to hit someone, but when it happens it makes me wonder what has happened in that person's life that they feel like physical violence is the answer.