If you’re like most people, you find yourself unexplicably drawn towards charismatic leaders who possess supernatural powers and who want to help you.
Ooops, not you guys, Mixonian readers are not like that. Mixonian would not expect her readers to be drawn to say, television evangelists who claim to be channeling God to them. Or politicians who promise to solve all their problems from excess body hair to underachieving investments to failing eyesight.
Huh? Well, it’s another take on “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Well, the reality about charisma is that it is not an innate quality in a person. In other words, all babies are charismatic, that is, until they turn two. The research is clear in that charisma is something people project onto a person, it exists exclusively within a relationship.
The same way a leader cannot exist without followers, a charismatic person cannot exist unless people attach themselves to one. People who feel that the normal way of living is not working out anymore, for example, a lot of German people after World War II, or many Venezuelans during the 1990s, look for someone to help them resolve their perceived crises.
Psychologists call this “projection” and it’s something to think about in your own life. You may not be sending your life savings to a media evangelist, or truly expecting elected officials to ever resolve anything, but you may be projecting negative qualities onto the people who annoy you.
Is Gertrude really mean, or is your paradigm, or personal life drama, involve mean bosses as key characters? Is Bubba really that stupid, or is his being so helping you explain certain situations to yourself?
The practical idea from this is to question your assumptions about irritating people. Maybe Edna is a control freak, or maybe you’ve taught her to control you.
The next time you see something negative in a person, see if you can imagine the opposite quality in that person. Pretend Gertrude is obsequious, that Bubba is brilliant and Edna is relaxed. You could open up some interesting possibilities, even if it’s only a good laugh.