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Never Judge a Farmer by His Overalls

Updated on August 13, 2014
The Farmer
The Farmer | Source

My Friend and the Farmer

I have a friend who told me this story: She was a travel agent at one point in her life. One day a very large man came into the agency asking if they sold airplane tickets. She assured him that they did, while taking in his appearance. She said he wore overalls and very muddy boots. He had straw in his hair. He smelled like he was just off the farm, which he probably was. He explained that he wanted to take his entire family to a family reunion.. "I' ll be back with my wife,"he said.

My friend began searching for all the low fare and discount tickets she could find. She wanted to be thoroughly prepared when he came back.It was not long before he showed up with his wife. She was an equally large woman. They explained that they had four children and wanted first class tickets for all. "We are large people,"the farmer explained. " It is far too uncomfortable for us in budget seats."

At that point, he brought out a paper bag full of money and bought first class tickets for his whole family.

Origin of the Quote

The phrase goes back to at least the mid-19th century, as seen in the newspaper Piqua Democrat, June 1867:

"Don't judge a book by its cover, see a man by his cloth, as there is often a good deal of solid worth
and superior skill underneath a [???] jacket and yaller pants."

(know your

Lesson Learned?

We all have heard the adage,"Don't judge a book by it's cover." Far too often, though, we unconsciously do just that. We often overrate our own perceptions and jump to conclusions about others.

I was accused, once, of something I had not done. When I tried to explain, the accuser said,"Oh yes you did it. I saw your face." At that point I began to wonder just exactly what that person saw in my face. While I gave her room for her own interpretation, I began to wonder what my facial expressions are? What do I show in my face? Do my expressions really show my true intent? At least in this case, they did not. Which brings up the point that a person cannot effectively judge by one's facial features.

In my opinion, we do not often show our real feelings in our faces. I would say half of the time we unconsciously send the wrong message, and the other half of the time the observer reads it wrong.

Most people hide themselves from public view. They do not reveal their inner selves. Some even fake their feelings or show a different person than they really are. So, judging them would only bring the wrong conclusion.

The Manipulator

Some even take the issue farther by manipulating another person subtly. Manipulation means to make attempts at indirectly influencing someone else's behavior. These people pose as innocents or even victims. They twist their message to invoke sympathy and even engage the other person to do things he may not want to do. These people are so good at disguising their agenda that they are very hard to detect. To read these people by their cover could be disastrous.

What to Watch Out For

Some of the characteristics of a manipulative person include:

A martyr style personality.This type will make you think he has been considerate towards you so that you will feel beholden to him.

An excessivley needy personality. He sets you up to respond to his neediness.

Narcissists. This one is very hard to deal with because he believes he is owed everything.

And, sadly, us. At one time or another everyone has tried to manipulate. Its just that we don't make it a habit.

Defense Mechanisms

As we grow up and learn to cope with the world we form defense mechanisms. These are meant to help us navigate the difficult world, and they often do. Probably the most difficult defense mechanism is denial. If a person is in denial an observer will have a hard time figuring him out.

For instance: My husband insisted for years that he did not need a hearing aid. When I finally got him to get his ears checked he continually denied that he had a hearing loss. Even though all the tests showed that he did, he denied it. "You're in denial, " the examiner said. He had to do test after test to finally convince my husband that he had a severe hearing loss.

Years of loss of communication could have been avoided if I had realized that his protests were not valid.

denial | Source

”This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Dr Irene Says...

“To Thine Own Self Be True…..”

quote by LanThi ; article by Dr. Irene (February 2, 2000)

“To thine own self be true…..”

Most of us are familiar with the above quote taking from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but how many of us know this verse: “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man.” Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others.

To thine own self be true… profound. How many of us have a hard time being true to ourselves? Those of us that gave our life to another at the cost of loosing who we are in the process will have a hard time being true to ourselves. Allowing someone else to define who we are, we lose our ability to discover and grow inwardly. We no longer are able to discern a truth from a lie. For many of us, we have accepted lies for so long, that finding out what is true takes time. Having done this very thing, I know how difficult the journey to self-discovery can be.

Truth….truth is a word that brings out such negative reactions to many of us. You see truth is really an action word. You cannot accept truth without change. Accepting truth about ourselves is difficult, especially to those of us who have been abused. But
truth does set one free if we will allow it to; it is a crucial part of healing. It gives us the freedom to be who we are. We are able to come to terms with our weakness (without condemnation) and appreciate our strength. Truth gives strength; it naturally builds healthy boundaries. Truth is open; it is honest even at the risk of being vulnerable again. Truth is light and brings forth life. When we walk in truth, we walk in light and when we walk in light we live a healthy life.

Truth is also love. The greatest act of love towards another is living a life that is truthful. For those of us who find it difficult to love ourselves, we will find it will come more easily when we walk in truth about who we are. If we walk in truth, we walk in perfect love, and if we walk in perfect love, then we do not walk in fear because perfect love cast out fear. Because we have been honest with ourselves, we are able to love ourselves with all of our imperfections, knowing that we are in “process” and therefore need not have others approval. This is freedom indeed.

The second part of this verse is a natural occurrence if we hold true to the first part of the verse. So, when in doubt as to our motives of not being truthful with someone….look inside, are we being less than truthful to ourselves?"

My Sentiments, Exactly

I think the best way to show our true colors to others is to be honest with ourselves. That means digging deep, asking our soul why we are doing something and figuring it out . All too often there are hidden reasons . It is up to us to be honest with ourselves. Then we must decided if these reasons are legitimate or whether we would like to push them aside. Make the cover of our book tell the real story.


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    • C McNairy Wight 1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Carol McNairy Wight 

      4 years ago from Provo, Utah

      Thanks for your comments. It is hard to dig deep into your should and discover your truth, but it is mighty powerful! I'm glad you validated that.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      The story about the farmer is classic! So often, we think that we know someone when, in reality, we don't. Our lives would all be much better if we lived and walked in our own truth and stopped trying to make up a truth that does not exist!


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