Friday, September 30, 2011

The Art of Understanding People

Many of you probably recognize this image as Hannibal Lector, psychopath extraordinaire from the movie Silence of the Lambs.  Thanks to Anthony Hopkins amazing acting talent, I could no longer walk in the dark down our driveway to the garbage can shortly after I saw this film.  Later, I got over it.  But for about a week or two the world seemed a much scarier place.

I've been studying psychology off and on now for many years.  And the Hannibal Lectors of this world are rare.  He was a true psychopath, and those are a little bit hard to find.  Although not as rare as we might like to think. 

Sometimes I wonder why people fascinate me so much and why I really want to be a counselor.  But they just do

Because I also love interior design and art and furniture and color so much, some people have suggested I should stick with those things and focus my energy there.  I'm back in school pursuing a degree in psychology, and it seems I don't always get a lot of support for that idea.  There's a lot of "yeah, I think you'd be good at that, but have you thought about doing this _____(insert pet idea of person giving me free advice here)______________.  I've decided this response is probably multi-faceted.  First off, I think a lot of people are actually put off by the idea of psychiatry and psychology.  They've never been to a counseler, or they didn't like it the one time they did try to go, and they are really uncomfortable with the idea of psychology as a career.  So I get a lot of "hmmmm, have you thought about interior design?"

Well, yeah, I do love that.  But as a career choice, not really.  AND it's even less practical than pursuing an advanced degree and becoming a counselor or psychologist.  It would actually be much more difficult for me at this age, to become a successful designer, than if I were to pursue a Phd!  (and I'm actually not even trying to pursue a Phd right now, just a Masters).

Oh yeah, and I do have that business I'm working on right now with bridal gowns and prom dresses and evening gowns.  And I REALLY enjoy that.  And I would love it if I can keep that going as long as possible.  But ulimately, I probably will end up hiring someone to run that for me when it becomes impossible for me to do that and counseling at the same time. While I'm still in school, I can make it all work.  

I guess here is what I would like everyone to know.  I love beautiful things where ever I can find them.  I love art, and design and photography and color and fashion.  But the other thing I really love are people.  People are fascinating. And they are beautiful and complicated and like a big kaliedescope of fascinating contradictions.  There is an art to understanding people. What motivates them, what makes them happy, or sad.  I can see things in people that they often have difficulty seeing in themselves.  I could no more give up that pursuit than I could give up loving color.

Trying to understand people, to support people, to help people understand themselves is the one constant thing that motivates me to succeed more than anything else in my life besides my children. (who will always be the best thing I ever did, or could hope to do).

I can't paint.  I can't draw. 

But this art of understanding people is one thing I truly excell at. 


Raven Blackmane said...

I could understand people being put off by a psychology major, some people might think that you are evaluating them all of the time, I think those people are insecure. Good for you for knowing what you want. I like how you have your side projects to keep that creativity going whilst pursuing greater things for yourself. I need a plan A but I like all of my plan B's....sigh.

Suzanne Barker said...

You are good at a LOT of things Lezlee, but you are really good at understanding people.


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