Being Genuinely Interested

Dale Carnegie says “If you want others to like you, if you want to develop genuine friendships, and help others at the same time you help yourself, you must become genuinely interested in other people.”  He’s saying you must show genuine interest in a person.  So, by asking questions, engaging in meaningful conversation to learn about them, what they like, dislike, who they are, where they’re from shows genuine interest.  He also says to make a good first impression, don’t criticize, but give appreciation and praise, greeting people with a smile.  He says happiness does not depend upon outward conditions, but inner conditions.  I’m pretty sick of kissing people’s asses to get what I want.

I’ve always been a kindhearted, smiley person, even if I’m unhappy on the inside.  Something in me lately has me feeling extremely unhappy, dissatisfied with what life has to offer in Society, my living arrangements, the mirror, and my own mind.  I still greet acquaintances with a smile, with a sense of internal superiority translated as self confidence, but I’m not as conversational as I used to be, I guess because I’ve been dealing with such a lower level of life forms; surrounded by Mental Health patients, forced to live on a limited paycheck, with no real chance of taking all of my knowledge and wisdom and putting it to use in the workforce or society.  It doesn’t help that I often hear voices from dead people, people from the past, and have still not yet reconciled if I am truly communicating with living beings or if I have developed full fledged schizophrenia.  As I battle with the voices, visions, and conversations, feelings of anger pile up, along with resentment, frustration and expectation of change.  Years of this have gone by and no changes have been made, other than to observe even more mental head cases that cause more hate and discontent in my environment.  So my goal has been to not let internal and external conditions affect my daily interaction and view of life and the future.  A difficult task, especially when I read books by Best Selling Authors that say things like “happiness depends upon inner conditions.”  As much as I try to control the inner dialog and take over, attempting to create my understanding of reality vs. my imagination, I give up because sometimes the voices are too powerful, too evil.

I feel like I’ve reached a point in life where I’ve seen all I can see, achieved all I will ever achieve and will not be able to put my ideals into practice in the real world.  It’s not pessimism or lack of will that makes me feel like life beyond today is not going to be a happy and positive endeavor, but it’s more so as if I have already witnessed the greatest gift and loss of all, experienced an awakening, and can’t seem to get excited for a new future since my past is still unresolved.  It might also be because of severe disappointment in dealing with nasty members of society, fear that there is nothing better than what I’ve already experienced or fear of the emptiness I will find even if I did settle in somewhere new with decent people.  It’s almost as if I’m just biding my time left on earth, waiting for yet another miracle that can only temporarily satisfy my mind and my pocketbook.  What is to come of a girl who sees many solutions, but can’t do anything to bring it to reality.  What is to come of the girl who sees beyond the daily life of work, eating, exercising, sex, and raising kids.  What is to come of the girl that speaks to the dead?

So, while I believe a smile, a good first impression, and being genuinely interested will help build a good relationship, I am still not confident one exists in human form that offers depth, trust, and satisfaction that I seek.  Just like I don’t think there is a working position on earth that offers professional satisfaction mainly due to system issues, personnel barriers, love losses, and the lonely life I am forced to lead.

Mr. Carnegie also says to be a good conversationalist and active listener.  I’ve found myself these days not wanting to listen, tired of hearing the same old stories, situations, processes, problems, complaints, and garbage.  I get tired of ‘conversating’ and tired of trying to communicate my past, my skills, my abilities, my experience, my background, my history, my plans, my hopes, etc.  I’ve always been a pretty decent conversationalist, able to engage in just about any topic of discussion, not self serving, quiet in many instances of politics and religion, acting as more of a conversational stimulator, rather than a conveyor of ideas unless I’m well informed and confident in a subject.  I’ve grown passed discussions of politics, religion, societies problems, inventions, and can really only talk about how I want things to be, with my hands tied because of financial and environmental limitations.  It’s almost as if mentally, I live in a dream world of possibilities, but restricted by reality and complications.

He says to encourage other people to talk about themselves.  I used to do this regularly to understand a person’s past, their strengths, desires, but lately, I’ve disengaged because I have heard so much non-sense come from the mouths of humans that I am disgusted.  I would’ve gladly had a conversation with my Dentist, but they wouldn’t honor my groupon for a teeth cleaning, nor would they budge on the price of fixing my smile; a $2,000 procedure that cost only $60 twenty years ago.  So I guess Mr. Carnegie was right, people do only care about themselves and a superior communicator’s job is to encourage their self serving ego to win them over by complimenting them and showing genuine interest, even if it takes all the will in the world.  I suppose it’s back to “fake it til’ you make it” or just do it until you reach a point of personal satisfaction from engaging with others in conversation and activity.

His book is about Winning Friends and Influencing People and unfortunately, people need their Ego’s massaged before they can consider someone else’s needs.  A sick population indeed or maybe just another step in the early development of a relationship; without showing interest in someone, they will not feel like they are important and everyone wants to feel important.  Why didn’t my Dentist Office help me feel important when I asked for a bargain or discount for services?  The problem is that the world of goods and services no longer care about how you feel.  They’ve already established needs in goods and services for your pain, suffering, or inability to use their services no longer matters since they met their bottom line.  It’s all about profit.  Your smile is unimportant, just like your past, your future, and your opinion about the metal sharp objects they use to check your teeth for decay.  Just ask, I will tell you how my teeth feel; but no they have to use painful tactics to see for themselves.  Anyone can feel their teeth decaying; it does not require a sharp object on your teeth and gums to prove pain.  So, being a good conversationalist, doesn’t help throughout the course of business.  I told them my financial limitations and desires, yet they still performed a consultation as if I were going to purchase a world of follow on services, not even offering a situational discount for a simple procedure; proving Society’s smile was not as important as Business Revenue.  It was like they didn’t even hear me.  A sick world.

Has it happened?  Have I reached full maturity and am on the downward slope of life now seeing what it was all about being fully disappointed and now socially incapable of rebuilding my life, gaining financial freedom, and starting new relationships because of a major loss in business and family?  I already knew aging would be a difficult passage in life, growing old, the chance of loneliness, poverty, sickness, and when I look in the mirror, I still feel young, vibrant, like I could reinvent myself and still have time to become a millionaire.  I just don’t want to.  I’ve lost the zest for life because I won’t let myself get involved with romance and building a family.  It is because I have a child out there and can’t let go of the past hurt, drama, and awareness of a flawed system.  It is because I am still hurt and am not being heard by the people I used to consider friends and family.  It is because I have been abandoned and left for dead.

So, for me to be genuinely interested is easy; anything to get me out of my own head, but I’ve got to change my environment; get somewhere that is pleasing to the eye, the heart, and the mind.  I can’t fake interest, just like I can’t fake happiness.

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