The Quality of Life indicators I observe (but feel inadequate to track) most closely have to do with how us common folk interact, our decision-making (and other) thought processes and, especially, how we resolve interpersonal conflicts.
My mother worked full-time training me away from shyness and introversion. She stressed the importance of what other people think of me. Change of underwear was critical in case some accident landed me in an emergency room where, apparently, medical personnel would judge me harshly otherwise. Good posture was the way to let other people know I had self pride. Clear enunciation at an easily audible level, with full eye contact, demonstrated intelligence and breeding.
The objective seemed to be the development of a public persona that read as an unquestionably clean, intelligent, upstanding and, ultimately, employable.
One message on regular rotation in this internal programming was always particularly confusing. I didn't "get it" when I first heard it and it still sits uneasily in my consciousness. "If you're the only one who sees it that way, you're probably wrong." The first question this message provoked was "Why?" or more specifically "How does that work? How does an idea become consensus?" and "Where are the lab notes, the incontrovertible documentation of the research process that resulted in proof that "truth" requires majority opinion?"
The message is an argument for conformity. It expresses disapproval of introversion. It created -- and continues occasionally to create -- identity conflicts for me, triggering that "Is it just me?" feeling in a variety of situations.
|"From Where I Stand"|
Photographer: Eliz Sarobhasa
What's observable is her tendency in conversation to preface her responses with "No..." or "It's not that (whatever I just said)" or "That's not the point." On her last morning here, I confronted her about what I called a knee-jerk inclination to cancel my ideas. We've had this conversation before over the 6 or 7 years of our acquaintance. On Sunday, as in previous episodes, we came to no conclusion. She says she only uses the cancelling language when she perceives my statement or question as "regressive" or "judgmental" or inaccurate or calling into question something that "everybody" already agrees on.
As in previous attempts to talk about this, she was somewhat irritated by my concern. This is not uncommon. Whenever I turn to an analysis of how we talk to each other, I'm regularly accused of being too picky or unnecessarily analytic. "You know what I meant!" they reply with exasperation.
Surely I'm not the only person experiencing this. Surely she's not the only person with this linguistic proclivity.
I say "surely" with no supporting statistics. No one is measuring or tracking this stuff. I'm convinced it affects Quality of Life. But no one is tracking this stuff...