Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Small Things

There is an experiment which tests whether a person has the tendency to focus on the finer details in life or see the bigger picture instead. In this test, a letter in an enourmous font is displayed to a subject. The catch is, the letter is made up of hundreds of tiny different letters. The subject is then asked what he or she sees. If they are of a meticulous character, they would usually notice the finer letters first. If they don't usually zero in on the details, they would see the bigger letter. I remember the first time I was tested, I noticed both so I guess the test results can be pretty subjective. 

Anyhow, I am happy to believe that I am a person who is highly sensitive to the smaller details in life. I believe I have high emotional intelligence despite being shy. In my silence, the ideas, facial expressions, speech, actions and body language of other people hardly escape my sieve of scrutiny and often contribute towards my perception of them. Truth in itself is such a difficult thing to prove and I can never have the right to say that the way I see other people reflect any sort of absolute fact. However, I can attest to the many times in which the thoughts I form about other people are reinforced by the unfolding of events involving them that I predicted would happen in the future. My lack of surprise at the way they behave or the choices they make after knowing them for sometime has made me pride myself on this ability to form opinions, not judgements on those around me. It can be frustrating at times because I am too sensitive towards the small details in life. The specific type of words or accessory used; change in the way a person speaks; behaviour of a friend amidst a new crowd; choice of new hairstyle or nail polish; trends in actions and what not. Is this a very feminine characteristic? My level of sensitivity has in the past proved detrimental to my own well being in the sense that my emotions behave very elastically in relation to it. The devil is in the details, quite true literally, to me that is.  

Last summer, I complained to Moo's mum that I had the misfortune of working under a very sensitive lady supervisor who took most things to heart and was unable to perform more professionally. In retrospect, I behaved in exactly the same way when she did things to victimize me when I should have just realized that some events are just passing, even the bad ones. These happenings can just stay happenings if I willed them to, merely insignificant little happenings which had to occur to fill in the gaps between the more significant experiences in life. We are free to choose the extent to which we want an event to impact us. I should have known that at the end of the day, I'll still be fine anyways and there are zillions of positive things to look forward to. Optimism is a choice, it has always been. 

Before I detract any further, I would like to remember the wise comments from Moo's mum. She told me that it is natural for a woman to be extra sensitive as opposed to her male counterpart. Even in this modern age, women in general still find it hard to make their presence known in any male dominated industry. Often, they are still viewed as the gentler gender, considered to be lacking in aggression and technicality. Women in positions of power often had to fight their way to the spot which they hold today, making them tougher and more judgmental, sometimes even defensive of their juniors. My reception towards these ideas was good and I had to agree to a large extent. However, I also see it as a matter of survival of the fittest, which applies to both male and female. A tiny voice inside of me whispered that the boss I had could have been threatened by my presence, as well as the other juniors, so she did not do her best in imparting her knowledge to me and tried to exert her superiority over us all. Again, I am not judging her, but I am trying to analyze the way in which she treated me. Understandably, anyone would act in a similar manner if they maintained at the forefront of their interests, their own selves. However, I'd still like to point out my opinion that women are usually more sensitive by nature. It is a good weapon in itself. 

One weekend last year, I was sketching some pictures. I started out with the face of the main subject, her nose, eyes, mouth and ears. I then proceeded to form her dress, buttons, pleats of her skirt and the patterns on her shoes. Next, I shaded the creases and folds. Mr. Superman, one of my hosts that weekend, saw the fashion in which I drew and said to me that it reminded him of his style a long time ago, before he switched to sketching outlines of the bigger and whole picture first, before zeroing in on the details. He draws beautifully by the way. 

A skewed human being I am. I always look at the small things first before taking a step back and getting a fuller view of a sight, situation or perspective. I still do possess a balance, albeit a lopsided one. But who is to say that a perfect symmetry is the optimum, or any end of the spectrum? I can sway my little see saw anyway I deem fit, until I get that just-right feeling. At any rate, I do enjoy being the way I am right now as I am working towards a more relaxed and less intense attitude. I have strong reactions towards the things I perceive, but increasingly so, I am trying to label events as just things that build on my experience and distinguish between those that need more reacting to and those that don't. My discernment and optimism are heading towards the right direction for now, as I sip on my lovely mug of green tea. It is a good day, and many more are coming my way. 

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