Monday, August 6, 2012

Judging By The Cover Or Waiting Until We Read a Few Chapters?

"Don't judge a book by its cover."
 - American Proverb

They say we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I've never understood that. When I go to the library (one of my personal happy places), I choose what books I want to bring home by their covers. How else would I choose? I look at the photo or colors on the book jacket. I try to decide if the title sounds interesting. I wonder if the author is any good. Then I check it out and take it home to read it.

I've been deceived by book covers. Some of the most boring or poorly written books have had the prettiest covers. Some of the most intriguing titles have belonged to books with no plot. And I've discovered later that some of the books I left behind on the library shelves were books I really would have loved - books full of adventure, plot twists, and well-developed characters.

What about the people in my life? Am I judging them by their "covers"? Have I chosen who to invite over for coffee based on the "cover of their book"?  Have I missed out on a really great friendship because the "cover of the book" wasn't appealing? What does the "cover of my book" look like?

I have given a lot of thought to what the "cover of my book" looks like. What do people see when they meet me the first few times? I asked DH to make sure I wasn't completely confused about the image I present to the world. He assured me that I'm not too far off the mark, so here goes.

My "cover" shows a confident extrovert; an open, friendly girl who loves a good party and who never met a stranger. I also come across as a bit of a ditz - gullible and easily confused.

But my "cover" is not all there is to the story. Get to know me (read a few chapters in), and you will discover that I need quiet time alone to recharge after time with people. I actually value my privacy and keep more to myself than I share. And I second guess myself all the time! Self-doubt and I are very intimately acquainted.  And I'm no dummy. God has blessed me with a fairly high level of intelligence which comes as a shock to some people.

My "cover" is not fake. I am the girl my "cover" portrays. But there is so much more to me. I go much deeper than most people realize because they just assume that the "cover" tells the whole story.

So if that's true for me, doesn't it make sense that it would be true for others? Isn't it safe to assume that their "covers" don't tell the whole story?

This last question is really making me pause (even I as type this). I know I'm guilty of judging people by my first impressions of them. And I know I've discovered later that my first impression was wrong. But am I still doing it? Am I still deciding who to get to know better by the "cover of their book"? Is that what I want to do?
Let's flip this for a minute. Do you know what the "cover of your book" looks like? Don't assume you do. Ask someone who loves you. Ask them what image you present to the world. And then brace for honesty. It's possible that the image you present is not one you will be happy with. It's possible that what people actually see when they meet you is not at all what you think it is. So ask someone who will tell you the truth.

Then decide if the image you present is one you are happy with. I'm asking myself that question today. Is my "cover" honest enough? Should I work on matching my "cover" to the whole story? Or is it ok to keep somethings to be discovered as the story unfolds? I don't really have answers. Just lots of questions. But that's pretty typical for me :-)

Linking up with Covered in Grace and Bloggy Moms


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