Sketching Someone’s Character

Sketching Someone’s Character

Sketching Someone’s Character

 

“I CAN READILY BELIEVE THAT REPORTS MAY VARY GREATLY WITH RESPECT TO ME; AND I COULD WISH, MISS BENNET, THAT YOU WERE NOT TO SKETCH MY CHARACTER AT THE PRESENT MOMENT, AS THERE IS REASON TO FEAR THAT THE PERFORMANCE WOUD REFLECT NO CREDIT ON EITHER.” –– Mr. Darcy

Oh, we ALL do it! You can’t deny it! When you meet someone, you quickly assess the kind of man he is. It might be the way he is dressed, or the smiling eyes, or the quick witty remark, or the sweaty hands you just shook. An article in Forbes magazine says that we have seven seconds to impress someone before they tag us mentally with good or bad qualities.

Yes, I wish to blog on first impressions, passing judgment, and seeing who someone really is. Dr. Maya Angelou, a writer and poet, says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I have heard the saying, “The way you dress and speak advertises something about you, what are you selling?”83a752159997781d91e3d293477a68fe

If we had a previous interaction with a collared up serious businessman who once scorned and judged us for being our one-of-a-kind witty and outgoing selves (Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth), wouldn’t it influence or at least come to mind when another stiff-necked, proud looking man is presented to you? Or how about the charmer who made us feel validated at every turn (Wickham)? Clearly there are imperfect first impressions. But even those of us who may have a longer-term association with someone, may read another wrong. For example, a sweet shy young woman, who you have known for a few months, may not outwardly show her affection but it has no correlation to the passion she feels inside (Jane Bennet).

Let me go back to the quote above by Maya Angelou, it clearly says, “When someone SHOWS you who they are, believe them the first time.” So is this the key to accurate and fair judgments of those we interact with?

Let me get a bit personal for a minute. I recently got married a second time! In fact, tomorrow will be my 3 month anniversary. (I know!! It has been the greatest blessing in my life!) People who know me well, and see me frequently, like friends at work have said a few things like this: “You were always happy, but now you are ‘sassy happy’.” Or they have said, “There is a marked difference in you since Art came into your life.” Although I have an entire novel’s worth of things I could say about my husband, let me redirect you to the purpose of the blog: first impressions, passing judgment, and seeing who someone really by their actions. (Rest assured, I WILL write Art and my story!)IMG_3571

Here are some things you need to know, I’m LDS (Mormon), am from the more laid back and less direct West coast, had a squeaky clean life, and basically lived my life with the purpose of never doing anything wrong. Yes, I was one of those “Perfectionists”. (An undeniable quiver just went up my spine.) Eventually, through life difficulties, I have learned a few hard lessons. For example, perfection is a filthy four-letter word that makes us feel inferior and like we are always a failure. I have learned that everyone makes mistakes and there is always forgiveness and the Atonement that helps us rebalance our lives. I’ve also learned that there are many who will take advantage of “sweet and kind and passive” and therefore I have learned that I have to exert myself and sometimes even actively confront people. Are you starting to see where I am going?

My husband, Art, is from the more direct East coast, and also grew up in New Jersey where a few of the people he had an association with were connected with the mob, yes, the mob! He did all the typical “young and stupid” in his life, and recently turned his life over to God and was baptized into the LDS church a little over a year ago. So we came from very different backgrounds, but we are now on equal grounds. His very accent, and you should ask him to say, “How you doin’?”, gives him away. His first impression to a few around him, and not all, mind you, is this very picture I just painted.

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So lets us connect everything in just a few lines. Art is the most selfless, service-oriented, loving, gentle man I could even have imagined, and as an author, I am pretty good at imagining the perfect man! He loves and serves me to the point that I fear I am not loving him enough! (Let’s be honest, how many wives can say that?) I literally can’t keep up with all the sweet and kind things he says and does for me! And my daughters, who live with us half the time, are seeing, perhaps for the first time in their entire life, the way a man should treat a woman. They are seeing a measurable difference in my happiness. They are seeing him sneak a kiss when he thinks no one is watching.

But the final bit you need to make the connection of why I feel so passionate about this topic, is that someone is ALWAYS watching! And they are passing judgment on whether or not their first impression was accurate or not.

So, in conclusion, remember, first impressions are often measured by previous interactions, so don’t trust them. We must always advertise ourselves accurately. We must be willing to, not only be aware of, but also trust when people actually “show” us who they are with their deeds and actions or we will miss out on the most beautiful people and relationships. Also, a person’s “past” does not matter unless it continues to paint their future. We must allow ourselves, and others around us, to grow and learn, and we must also allow our opinion of others to develop slowly and to have that same freedom of changing. So don’t be afraid to admit that your first impression of someone was wrong. Don’t be afraid to utterly throw that first seven seconds out the window.

And for sure, do not be so prideful as to let old prejudices prevent you from finding and having what eventually Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth had. Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of my favorite people that have touched my life, have given impressions that could have scared a few of my husband’s old associates in New Jersey! Start letting people “show” you who they are. Push that seven seconds of assessment into months or years of interaction, and stop sketching someone’s character, because as Darcy says, “there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.”

I would like to give away TWO copies of my next book, Hope for Mr. Darcy, the first in a trilogy, that will be published late this spring. To enter, please comment below on the blog itself, or for double entries, tell me of when you sketched someone’s character and was wrong, and how it eventually changed. The winners may choose the kindle version or a paperback (open internationally for both versions) and will be delivered once Hope for Mr. Darcy is published.

Jeanna Ellsworth Lake (My new last name!)

Hey Lady Publications

31 Responses to Sketching Someone’s Character

  1. Delightful read, altho’ unfortunately I just now came across it so I presume the giveaway is ended. Well, I’ll just add this title to my Must-Read bookmarks. Fret not, everybody in New Jersey has some sort of connection to “the mob,” even if it’s not a direct one. And the true test of whether or not someone is a native New Jerseyan (New Jerseyite? It’s never been decided.) is to ask them where they spend their summers. If they say “Downa shaw” they’re natives! I wasn’t too fond of my DH when I first met him, but had an excuse: he was from a former Iron Curtain country where life was quite different from the way it was here in USA so we had very different responses to words, events, you name it. This has mostly smoothed out with time and improved language skills. I wish you and your new Prince Charming a long, loving life together, altho’ I doubt you need my good wishes; looks like you’ve already got it in the bag.

  2. While my husband is the “never knew a stranger” gregarious type I am the type who takes in your actions, your conversation and waits to see how you approach me and interact with me before I make friends with you. I always told my children to judge people not by their house, or car, or profession or clothes but how they treat you. Growing up poor with hand-me-down clothes I was judged a lot by those superficial standards and it hurt. So I will wait to see how you react to me. I look at a person’s eyes and believe I can see a lot there. Are you looking me in the eye or looking me up and down to check out my style, my status, my tastes.

    You and your husband do look very happy. Yes, we on the east coast have many areas where the “mob” is suppose to be of influence but I don’t know any personally. My son and his wife live in NJ near the shore (Sandy Hook). We have many accents around us a our communities have people moving in and out from the south, from the midwest, from NYC and from Jersey.

    Congratulations on bringing in a man/husband to show your daughters what true love in a marriage is all about.

    • I really love the fact that you bring up the eyes. I agree that most people are far too readable to not show it in the eyes. My husband is one of them. His eyes are so filled with expression…. of course my favorite is when he looks at me like, “How could I be so lucky?” or another is “You are so beautiful”. I too grew up poor but never knew it! It wasn’t until I was a grown up that I realized so many people judge people on those things.

      I adored this honest comment. Thank you!
      Jeanna Ellsworth Lake

  3. Thanks for this wonderfully inspiring post, Jeanna! So wonderful to know you’re so happy and as loved as you deserve to be! Wishing you and Art all the very best and YAY for ‘Hope for Mr Darcy’! I can’t wait to read it ever since that tantalising excerpt you teased us with a while ago. Best & congrats!!

    • I’m even more excited, Joana, to tell you that we are just a few weeks, 5??, away from publishing Hope for Mr. Darcy! Woot woot! Can’t wait! Now since I’m married, I have to write a new author’s bio. UG UG and double UG! I hate writing those! GRRRRRR LOL

  4. And don’t judge a book by its cover. Speaking of books… at least now I know why I stopped getting chapters for the latest book to beta! 🙂 I knew there was a new man in your life, but did not know you had gotten married. Congratulations, good luck and remember to keep those communication lines open and honest between you. regards.

    • Yes exactly Linda! Every spare minute I have had I spent with Arthur! I can’t get enough of him! It is kind of like a drug. It just makes me feel good and I just want more more more more! I won’t be sending anything new for a while since I’m focusing really hard now on getting Hope for Mr. Darcy out at the end of April!

  5. It is interesting, how first impressions work. I met my husband on a blind date 32 years ago. He has an intersting face but once he smiled I relaxed. We started talking about chocolate and that was it. Our hosts that introduced us didn’t get a word in the rest of the evening. We were engaged in 2 months and married in six. 17 years ago we quit our regular jobs and ran a B&B aswell as consulting. We have been woring and living together 24×7 for those 17 years, My first impression of him as a lovely, lively gentle man have always proven true. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.
    Thank you for the giveaway.

    • Oh Lynn, this was such beautiful tribute! So poetic!I love it! And I totally agree that a person’s smile says so much! Just think about how the whole movie changes when Mr. Darcy gives that little half smile while Georgiana is playing and Elizabeth is turning the pages! It is that smile that does me in every time!

  6. What a great post. I’m so pleased that you found your soulmate Jeanna and hope you have a very long HEA. I can’t think of any specific errors in character assessment that I have made but I do know how easy it is to judge someone based on their looks which can be a big mistake. Thanks for the chance of a giveaway.

    • Most of the time, our looks do not directly indicate our true selves, however, I do, personally, try to look my best at all times. A lot of people come to night shifts looking like they are about to go to bed. I try to look my best because then I feel like I perform my best.

  7. Jeanna very good advise to wait until you have known someone longer to sketch their character. I made the mistake of judging a person newly hired in my same department. I thought he was going to try and turn everything upside down. I was so against him I couldn’t see anything but bad in everything he said. Boy was I wrong! He turned out to be the biggest blessing to our department and he couldn’t be anymore caring about others feelings. Congratulations on finding your “Mr. Darcy”.

    • Oh, work impressions are notorious for being wrong wrong wrong! So many of us have a different personas when we go to work! We compartmentalize and sometimes hide what we are feeling (which most of the time is a good thing professionally) but it does make it hard to get to know people. It probably took me several years to open up to 2-3 people at work,

    • Thank you! It has been so fun! We have had our growing pains but mostly it has been fabulous! Of course, the fact that you called it thought provoking was doubly nice. It is kinda my goal in most of my posts

  8. Loved hearing about your Art, Jeanna. So glad he came along at the right time and that your daughters are getting to see how a man should treat his wife. Wishing you all the best!

  9. Congratulations! As someone who lived in that “you must be perfect” bubble, I concur and love this post. I am very introverted and have a tendency to not “bond” with people quickly so I am most often considered a rude and unsociable individual. Of course, once we’ve become acquainted, it’s easier to realize I’m just in my own head and not being rude and I do come out and play occasionally. LOL Those first impressions can throw us a mickey so easily. I’m just so happy for you. Blessings on you both! I always look forward to your books, so thank you!

    • I have a daughter who is exactly like that! She is so tenderhearted too. I think that is why she holds back some because she doesn’t want to get hurt. But she is a beautiful person. I will never try to be perfect again. It made me miserable

  10. Jeanna, I’m so happy for you and Art. What’s that old song, “Love is Beautiful the second time around.” Best wishes for your new marriage and the publication of a beautiful series. Jen Red

  11. OMG!!!Congratulations and happy [3 months] anniversary. What a wonderful post. I am so happy for you. Your pictures were beautiful… with him kneeling… oh my… and then in period costume… help me…I love costumes…oh did I say that out loud. But I am in good company, you guys do too.

    I nearly married a mistake… twice… just shows I wasn’t very attentive to those signals you warn us to consider. They are there if we are true to ourselves and watch for them. Many times we don’t want to see them but they are there none the less. Congratulations again on your new life [you are glowing].

    • When I was engaged to my husband, we were having an in-depth discussion and he asked if I had ever been engaged previously. I had to tell him yes, 3 times briefly. LOL But never married them because each time I quickly had an epiphany and realized I did NOT want to be tied to that individual. He jokes that I kept trying on high heels but finally realized that what I really needed was a great pair of sneakers. 😉 He’s not far off…LOL

      • Oh Stephanie, what a clever man. I love that saying about the shoes. My first near miss has a string of exes trailing behind him while the second was abusive with his exes. I think God every day for sparing me that. Like you, all I needed was a good pair of sneakers and, as fortune would have it…I have worn them now for several decades. Thanks for the chuckle, I needed it.

        • This was adorable to read! So funny! I totally agree that my husband is a perfect fit! All my life I seem to skipped over but I hit the jackpot this time. In fact, it sometimes made me sad to have people talk about their loves and stuff. It took a lot of willpower not to have a pity party. I agree that we need to be considerate of those who don’t have a Mr.Darcy or a HEA. I mean, I don’t even have a HEA, it has only been 3 months! It feels like we have been married for 5 years already though. So comfy.

  12. I loved your post Jeana, and for sharing a little more about Art. I am so happy your daughters are getting the chance o see what a healthy relationship is like. As for wrong first impressions; I married mine. He sported long side burns, drove a sports car and would bring his dog into the movie theatre on a regular basis (he was a HVAC engineer in the mall and would bring hi dobie in when the mall was closed). I thought he had nerve and was a jerk. It turns out mutual friends got us together; he rehabilitated abused dobermans so they could find homes, made rescue runs for the ASPCA, still lived at home, loved to travel, and enjoyed reading the James Herriott books. (Not to mention he introduced me to Jane Austen 7 years ago). Thank you for the generous give away.

    • I hadn’t heard about hour husband! Such a fun story! How sweet! I agree that I even had some wrong impressions of my husband when I first started talking to him. But I’m so glad I gave him a second chance. (After about a week I totally was going to give him a line like, “My life is too complicated right now.”) But I didn’t!

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