Following and imitating, or rather not

A few days ago I arrived at the parking lot in the premises of the company where I work. I chose a place to park at and directed my car to the place. There was snow in the parking lot and the borders of the parking places were not quite clear but I did my best to fit in there. Yet when I stopped the car, I noticed that I was not aligned to the car in front of me so I shifted into reversed gear, reversed and then aligned my car with the one opposite me.

When I got off, I found out that my car stood quite amiss, almost between two parking places and that my first attempt at proper parking was much more successful than the one that followed because I was misled by the other car… Frankly, I don’t align my car to other parking cars each time I don’t fit in perfectly but this time I did and the result made me think.

It is quite common and many times beneficial that we follow one another’s lead, “align” our opinions to those that seem smarter or more successful, amend our thoughts according to what we see and hear. Children imitate others while growing up to learn new things and behavioural patterns. We adults learn in this way too, no doubt about that and following others and imitating them may help us. At least temporarily, I’d say.

On the other hand, many times we let others mislead us because it may be easier or seem smarter to prefer their way to what we feel, what we think, what we are unsure of, what we are afraid of, what we don’t understand. Sometimes it takes courage and a leap into the unknown to believe in what our own self tells us. And sometimes we can be misled by thoughts and behaviour that are good and appropriate for the other person, but not for us.

So when to follow others and when our own opinions, feelings and instincts when a mistake can be made so easily in either case? It’s a million dollar question, isn’t it, but the purpose of this post is not to give the one and only right answer as I believe there is no such a thing. We simply need to listen to our “voices”, get attuned to them, distinguish the important ones and learn gradually. Some people are better at this than others, but we all have the chance to improve and live in balance with who we are supposed to be to live the fullest life we can achieve. Good luck to us all!

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13 Comments

  1. When the “absolute” boundaries are obscured, as they were in the snowy parking lot, lining up with others is often the next best choice. But, if we have an “absolute” set of criteria to which we are committed, it’s not so hard to follow them even when they’re somewhat blurred by circumstances. A thought-provoking post, Petra. Is the photo yours? It’s interesting how the car in the middle is in sharp detail, while everything else is blurred by the snow.

    1. Linda, I’m pleased you found that train of thought inspiring, it’s interesting to see where you arrived when following it.

      The photo is mine just as all the photos on the blog are mine (with the exception of two photos featuring me that were taken by my hubby). I would have stated if it was otherwise. I processed the original photo in such a way to get this effect to accompany the words with a relevant picture as I had no photo of cars parked in a parking lot. I quite liked the result…

  2. So very true, Petra. Your post could have been written about the current situation in the United States right now.

    What program did you use on the photo? Did it involve tilt shift?

    1. Wow, Sandy, your comparison definitely took me by surprise…

      I used Lightroom, Photoshop Elements and Nik plug-in, so you can see I had lots of fun with the editing. 🙂 In the process I partly applied a blurring filter imitating movement, it didn’t involve tilt shift (as far as I’m aware).

  3. Barb

    Dear Petra, I read your post and looked at your illustration with great interest today. Individual balance and belief is so important in the current world climate. So often we’re swayed by the actions and opinions of others. I try to make decisions based on my own understanding of events. It’s often useless to follow the crowd who don’t have a clear concept of where they’re headed anyway. In times when choices are obscured, we have to rely even more heavily on our own perceptions. Nicely done!

  4. I love how your photo of the car is in focus on the one side and very out of focus every where else. So interesting.

    Yes, good thoughts to consider. Rune E. stated it simply.

    1. Tammie, thank you. I like Rune’s comment too, it’s apt. We need to preserve individuality…

      I’m pleased you like the image, it was fun creating it. I had a vision of what I wanted to achieve and the result was even better than I expected. 🙂

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