Great on paper, not so great in reality: Why superficial reasons don’t carry much weight with deep decisions
Posted Sep 20 2013 5:35pm
House hunting has reminded me of my last post, Appearance isn’t the same as worth. Each day we look at properties on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla. We’re immersed in photos, floorplans and descriptions, some that are well written and others that don’t do the house justice or are trying to cover up the characteristics and qualities that an estate agent suspects may raise objections.
It’s easy to look at one photo or several and immediately discard a house. Equally, it’s easy to look at a person or their photo and dismiss them out of hand.
It’s those snap judgements that we can all be guilty of and to some degree it comes with the territory. When it comes to people, what can temper this tendency is to observe without judging and living by your own values. While I can’t stop people from making snap judgements about me, in knowing that I haven’t liked being judged for my appearance, race etc, I’m very conscious about catching myself when I do it.
We know what we’re looking for and while there are aspects that we’re willing to compromise on, there are others that are a deal breaker. There’s only so many houses we can physically see (just like there’s only so many dates you can go on) so we have to do the due diligence with our research. That said, we’ve gone to view houses that we’re so-so about based on what we see on a website or app, because we may be pleasantly surprised and dismissing a house that could actually have much or even all of what we want. We saw a house last weekend that outside it’s not the sexiest looking (I do love a period property – ours is late Victorian) but inside it’s ticking a lot of our boxes. We could love and live in that house.
We don’t need to be in love or even crazy excited in order to go and see a house. It’s just a house viewing just as it’s just a date. You don’t need to be in love or have your imagination running wild with possibilities in order to go on a date.
We’ve seen houses online and been all geed up, believing that they’re a serious contender, only to get there and it’s not what we thought it would be in the flesh. We fell in love based on snap judgements. It’s not just people where we take how they look and other attractive qualities and characteristics and then over-correlate them and assume that others will exist and that they’re perfect for us – we do it with houses and pretty much anything where we tend to fill in the gaps with our imagination and wants.
These fantasy experiences reminded me of when I would feel deflated on first and second dates. I’d have to come back to earth because the person hadn’t lived up to what I imagined or hoped him to be, which in fairness wasn’t based on much other than how they looked and some initial chit chat and flirting. After doing the fantasy thing a couple of times with the houses, Em and I have reined it in. We’re keeping an open mind and have become more attuned to the things that are likely to spell incompatibility, making it easier to rule out a property. It also means that we’ve been pleasantly surprised on occasion.
I’ve talked before about not being blinded by appearance and it still stands whether you’re looking for a house or a relationship partner. It’s not that appearance ‘can’t’ be part of what attracts you but superficial reasons cannot be the main driver of non-superficial big decisions. Using superficial reasons as a primary basis for making a huge decision is impractical and possibly foolhardy. It’s like getting the structural survey back on the house that says that there’s major structural problems and that certain issues need to be addressed before proceeding and going, ‘But I look good in this house’ or ‘It doesn’t matter.’ What’s the point in being with somebody who looks just as you imagined The Ideal Person TM, if in practical terms, you’re incompatible for a relationship? It’s a relationship (or a house) without a foundation. Superficial reasoning as a primary basis for something that requires deeper thinking and a big commitment is a problem.
It’s not that appearance doesn’t play some part but appearances can be deceptive – great on the outside, not so great on the inside. Looks great but structurally unsound. Looks great but isn’t compatible with your needs. If you want a show home or show relationship, knock yourself out but if you want something and someone that you can live with and love, you’ll need character and substance. You’re not going to find this if you’re just staring at and admiring them while blowing smoke up their bottoms and pumping them up .
Appearance is not the same as worth. Sure, people use it to make big and small decisions but appearance isn’t the same as your self-worth. Appearance can give the impression of value but it’s not the same as the value created by just being, which is character, how you live and what you do. It’s a combination of lots of factors, not just one thing and when it that one thing (appearance), then you know that that person is blinded by it. Sure appearance will be used, especially when making snap decisions made on impressions and assumptions or when there’s a lot of admiration and even glorifying going on, but by the time it comes to making bigger, deeper decisions, use deeper information.
When somebody loves and likes you, they like the way that they feel around you and enjoy creating something mutually fulfilling, not standing around basking in how you look makes them look and admiring some feature on you as if it’s your source of value. Do you want how you look to be someone else’s ego boost? Your purpose in life isn’t to model their ego for them.
When a person truly values you, they value you for all that you are, not latching onto ‘good points’ or just your appearance. Be you in the fullest sense both inside and outside.