A human being is a complex animal

Feelings, emotions, childhood experiences, struggles, triumphs, needs, psychological battles within self, dreams, fears, views, et cetera, render a human being a complex animal.

I am convinced many a person walks about proudly – and at times, boastfully – in their pricey Italian wear or whatever takes their fancy, often masquerading their true self. Their true and most likely, vulnerable self.

I often wonder how many people – especially youth – have the ability to spend time with themselves. Quality time! It is all too easy to always seek the company of others, to appear extroverted and exhilarating in personality and perhaps in style and expression than to admit the difficulty of dealing with self. Being at peace with self; being comfortable in your own skin. For noise, attention and distraction are sufficient, though up to a certain point, in throwing your focus off-course. In as much like the men and women in our societies who soak themselves in liquor so as to escape and forget about their shortcomings. Shortcomings which all too often give birth to unimaginable distress, to themselves, their loved ones; their innocent sons and daughters.

It is like running away from… actually, I should rephrase. It is impossible to run away from self! Immaterial of how far you go, or how fast for that matter. Deflecting your attention from your inadequacies always proves futile. Not to mention that it is consuming in the way of time, resources and energy — leaving you exhausted and all too often, feeling worse. Deflecting attention from your inadequacies always proves unfair to the people you love. Not to mention that it is draining in the way of patience and support from the people who love you. Not owning up to your innermost issues leaves friendships, intimate relationships, families, and business partnerships even, in total ruin. A human being is a complex animal.

It is partly the reason many businesses grapple, without much success, to effectively manage their human capital. Up to recent years, an employee has been a commodity who reports to work and the powers-that-be suck as much productivity as they can from him before he retires to go home. The same cycle repeats itself times innumerable. Other people have realised for employees to be truly productive, employers have to be considerate of their entire lifestyle. Whether we like it or not, an employee will prove unproductive if, for example, they’re knee-deep in distress on the domestic front. A junior employee whose mother is in her deathbed and alcoholic father wreaking havoc will find it difficult to concentrate and deliver amazing outcomes. It is too easy to dismiss that by retorting: when you come to work, leave all your problems at home! You hear?!

Human beings are too complex that it’s difficult for many to switch off certain parts of their lives and forget about their problems from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Thus, it bears pointing out: when you hire a person, you bring on-board their entire self. Their best attributes and abilities that attracted you to them, as well as their worst self that you’d rather ignore.

The same is true for intimate relationships. Matters of the heart, matters of emotion often prove tricky. Opening up to someone else and allowing them into your space requires complete acceptance of who they are. In all their glossy and desirable self, and in all their shortcomings as well. Some people say, I love you, mesmerised by the glossy person; they are quick to denounce the other side full of mistakes and other inadequaces. Perhaps the three words ought to be revised for some amongst us; I love you, so long you look and appear perfect.

Recently, I read words once uttered by musician Thandi Klassen. Words printed in a small booklet which came with the August 2014 magazine issue, celebrating the theme of Women’s Month. Other remarkable women were featured to tell their stories of hardships, dizzying success and views on life. Mrs Klassen recounted the sad story of how, when her face got burned, many music promoters stopped booking her for performances. She got shunned! I was fuming after reading the story. At the tail end, I was happy to learn she had made peace with that.

A human being is more than their external looks. So will your sweet words of: I love you, escape your lips as poignantly as they do now, when he or she loses the way they look?

I figure, emotional intelligence has never been so important.

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THEMBA JAY,

Communicate Your Genius