May 232012
 

Guest post by Khellendos

Whenever we examine our lives, we examine them from a particular side or angle. Most of us tend to favor one side over the others. For example, those of us who are stuck in the forever-alone mindset often tend to look at things from an emotional perspective rather than a logical perspective, or we may prefer to think in terms of specific details rather than the big picture, or vice versa.

To a certain degree this is not a problem. These tendencies add color to our individual character and help us build personality. However, viewing emotionally challenging scenarios through another paradigm is crucial to understanding why a situation might have concluded as it has. Furthermore, by going unchecked, these traits can also make us one-sided, blind to the many other ways of looking at our situation, or how our situation is impacting those around us. Even if we have decided that we are most happy when we focus on one particular side of things, it is always worth exploring the other sides. When we do, we become well rounded, more understanding of other viewpoints, and even more solid in our own. With practice and personal honesty, it can also bring closure. For example, if you’re rejected by someone you have really strong feelings for, instead of wallowing in self-doubt and pity, soar through the bad weather forecast and took a look at things from her/his side of the equation. Honestly answer the following questions (writing down these answers helps solidify them, and gives you a reference point in the future. I highly recommend it):

  • If I was in “name’s” situation, would I date me?
  • Why did “name” likely say no, and how can I use this rejection to grow as a person?
  • If another friend, who I didn’t have feelings for, said or acted the way “name” does, would I be upset? — Why or why not?
  • Am I demanding more of “name” than I do other people simply because I have feelings for her/him?
  •  If your feelings for “name” are unrequited, is your course of action fair or healthy for either of you?
  • How would you feel in if someone you thought was a good person, but had no romantic interest in, was acting towards you the way you behave towards “name”?
  • Most importantly, what do you truly desire, and what positive steps will you take to get there?

Think about a mutually platonic friend of yours, gender doesn’t matter, and ask yourself would you date them? Could you see yourself enjoying having sex with them? The answer is likely no. By shifting your perception, you begin to realize the platonic friend you’re viewing the aforementioned situation through is how the person who rejected you likely sees all encounters between the two of you. It isn’t always something you did or didn’t do. Sometimes you do screw up and frighten the other person away, but everyone makes mistakes. We’re all humans-in-training. Our task isn’t to obliterate our chances of tripping over our anxieties, shortcomings, lack of experience and fears, but to learn from these “faults” and become a better person.

Trying to guess what someone else feels like isn’t easy, and often it isn’t necessary. Perhaps you are a person who tends to see your life in terms of your social or emotional well-being. As a result, other concerns such as financial comfort or occupational standing may not be prominent in your mind as you make decisions. However, taking just a moment to consider those angles will help you in several ways. One, it will enable you to see more clearly what your priorities are and how they influence your life situation. Is your main focus a priority, or a passing desire? Two, it will enhance your sense of confidence because you will see your situation from all sides, furthering your resolve about which one contains the best course of action and logic. Three, it will help you communicate with others about who you are and what you are doing. By allowing ourselves to internally investigate multiple sides of an issue, whatever the subject may be, we begin to understand our own biases and tendencies, which are unique as the other person’s.

As we broaden our lives and begin to look at things through different angles,  we begin to realize not everything is mutual. From business partners, to educational instruction, to relationships. The spark isn’t always there — even if you feel there is a strong connection. Since this article is for improving from the forever-alone mindset I’ll focus on the relationship side of unrequited connection. Last week a mentor of mine, author Dan Millman, told me some advice a teammate once gave him: “Some women are going to like you no matter what and others aren’t going to like you no matter.  Why waste time on women who aren’t interested?” Dan’s advice is sound, albeit difficult to accept and follow. This isn’t saying that anyone who isn’t romantically interested in you, doesn’t share your business aspirations, has dissenting opinions from your own, etc., automatically doesn’t belong in your life; contrarily, his advice recommends by changing the way we look at challenges or obstacles in our personal lives, we can realize these people can be valuable acquaintances and friends, but following a forever-alone path by pining over them and what we believe we’ve “lost” is a fruitless cause. Despite how incredible that person or opportunity may appear to be, there is always someone else and more opportunities to seize. It’s only a matter of opening your eyes, looking and taking a chance.

The advice I’ve written may sound simple to accept and follow, but believe me, striding along the weed-encrusted path towards personal growth is really damn hard to do. You will likely struggle and fall off the path. It’s so much simpler to give up and mope about, cursing the world for damning your hopes and dreams. But don’t. Doing so doesn’t get us anywhere but down further in a personally destructive rut. It takes dedication and action to cause a positive change. When hiking a mountain, you can fall down and quit as many times as you like, as long as your feet keep moving forward. Removing our desires from the equation and looking at someone else’s can help set us on the path. For example, when I’m infatuated with someone who rejects me, I constantly struggle with choosing to look at things through her view, and sometimes I flat out fail at it. Just recently my choices and actions caused me to likely ruin what was a really great friendship because of my stubbornness, self-delusion that things would change, over-self-investment and being too readily available. I failed to accept what I knew was true because my paradigm was distorted, I chose to not look at things through her eyes and I flat out lost.  But that’s okay. Everyone slips up, even with their own advice. It sucks, but it’s a harsh reality of life. If we were perfect we wouldn’t be human.  What’s important is do something about the mistake, and commit to becoming a better person so the slip-ups are less-often and not as severe.  Regardless of how powerful our thoughts and emotions are they can’t actually change anything — only actions can. Looking at the problem through various angles is always a good starting point.

Growing necessitates peering through someone else’s eyes, because without taking into account what we know of that person’s desires, limitations, insecurities, etc. are, we’re blinded by our own. Ignoring the other side of a problem doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and believing an untruth is never a good thing. Most of us instinctively come at things from a particular angle, and in many cases this is the right way for us. Still, understanding the other angles only strengthens us. When we look at our lives from all sides, we shed light on the big picture, giving ourselves access to many points of view and highlighting more clearly the one we have chosen to take. Whatever choice you choose to make, understand you chose it. You chose where you’re at in life and who you are with, and you can make other choices.

Create good journeys, and best of luck.

-Khellendos

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