• Tommy Cicero

Learning by observing

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

- Carl Jung


We all have our pet peeves that may make us cringe or get up and leave the room. We see people act and behave in ways that do not match up with our values. It can be something as simple as people who complain too much to chronic tardiness. We were all raised in different environments. What we may tolerate might not be what our neighbor or co-worker tolerates. Hopefully, we gravitate toward people who share similar values with us, but we are always forced to face situations where values and personalities will clash.


I have learned to value honesty, sincerity and kindness over the past 15 years. These are all values I did not honor as a teenager or young adult. I would choose who I wanted to be kind and sincere to. I would also choose to be dishonest if it benefitted me somehow. I was a punk. I admit it. I would not get physical, but I had a mouth on me. 🤬 I had a negative attitude toward life and myself. The worst part was, I did not realize what an assclown I was being. Sure, some of my friends may have thought I was being funny. Mostly, I was just being rude.



In hindsight, I realize how my attitude and behavior painted me in a negative light. I was putting my unflattering qualities on display. Somehow, I did not care. I feel like part of me was proud of being a class A jerk at times. While in my first technical recruiting job after college, I learned about treating people more sincerely from a business perspective. Every new recruiter also had to read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. It actually helped me understand the benefits of not being an asshole. Duh! 😁 It also helped me start seeing the good in people.


What helped immensely was when I stopped needing to weigh in on things that bothered me, especially if they don't affect me. That came with more self-reflection in my late 20's. I realized it was not worth my time or effort to get irritated or upset over anything outside of my control. I rejected the person I once was in favor of acceptance and restraint. I also started associating more with people who reflect my current values. We get to choose how we respond to others when their values and personalities do not align with ours. We also have to live with the consequences of our response. I learned to respond with more kindness which has helped improve my own well-being.



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