-Guest Post by Tsaru-
First of all, everyone works pretty much the same, besides a few quirks and preferences. We have a body, and a mind. Our body experiences pleasure from sex, food, or drugs. We all gain or lose weight based on how many calories we consume and burn. We are mostly affected by the same diseases, and cured by the same medicine. Certainly, there are quirks, but that’s what makes you unique. Our minds, essentially, operate the same as well. We like to feel safe, loved, joyous, comfortable, attractive, confident, accomplished, understood, etc. We avoid situations and people around which we feel threatened and embarrassed, and are often afraid of admitting feelings of attraction because we might get rejected. These are factors we all share.
Sometimes you encounter someone who’s actions do not reflect what I described above. Perhaps it’s a girl who sleeps around and takes a lot of drugs, but she is that way because the short term negative emotions are stronger than the positive ones, and she can’t overcome that hump. But these people are still just the same. Still seeking exactly what you, and me, and the next guy are, and are merely haunted by past trauma.
The point of this is that you can relate to everybody you meet as nothing more than another person, just like yourself. The following three paragraphs detail what I did or came to understand over several years of social growth.
Understand that people have good days, and bad days. They have issues, and make mistakes. Say that someone has a date planned with you, but her mother calls, needing to be taken to the hospital and she forgets to call you. Then, because she’s scared that you’re angry, she avoids apologizing for a bit, and that turns into a week, and then a month, and soon you got stood up without a call, and it had nothing to do with you. People do all kinds of things that, when you look at them, really just seem foolish, and very little of it is your fault. The lesson is not to take things personally. Perhaps they chose not to come to the date, or haven’t texted you back in a few hours because of you, but it is very likely that it has nothing to do with you, and understanding that can rid you of a great deal of worry.
That being said, sometimes you don’t have a strong connection. Not every person is someone you can have a good connection/relationship (either platonic or romantic) with, and sometimes it only goes one way. Just yesterday I was in a spa (so I could spend time with my mom) and an older Asian lady began talking to me. She explained that she used to be lost. She was trying to heal the pain of all those around her and make them happy, but her failure was making her question why we are here. And then, in 1993, when she was 33 years old, BAM! she found JESUS! Oh boy. I had mentioned that I also enjoy helping people, and she proceeded to talk at me for about 20 minutes about her journey. Thing is, I’d had this conversation before with other people. That was, in fact, the third time. She continued to wave and say “hi” throughout the day, and I was polite because she is a nice person after all, but the connection there was clearly only in one direction. You may be in her place and even have it be on a romantic level, and it sucks, but remember that there are literally billions of people out there, and if you both didn’t feel it, it wasn’t going to work out, and the other person has helped you avoid a situation which would have ended badly.
Of course, sometimes it has nothing to do with connection or their problems, and it’s just that they find you annoying. If you feel ready, choose people you know well, and/or people who you’ve only recently gotten to know , and tell them that you are trying to grow as a person. Then ask them if there is anything you do that they find annoying, or ask them what they think of you. Either way, tell them to be brutally honest. Tell them to give you the bad things. Your job is to listen and understand that people aren’t all good at delivering criticism, and what they say here is probably not indicative of what they actually think about you. Don’t take it personally. Afterwards, thank them. They will say things about you that shake you, that you hadn’t considered and didn’t know about yourself. Personally, I was told that I was arrogant, that I was a bad listener, and that I needed to stop thinking I understood everything else, and acting like I was some kind of royalty. Yeah, I had the homeschooled only child syndrome, but by talking to people and examining myself, I grew out of that. You can grow out of any problems you have, but first you have to know what they are.
So, there are several takeaways from this. First, you are just like that girl that you really like, and she is not some great mystery. Second, she will make mistakes too, just remember that it has nothing to do with you. Third, sometimes you’re interested and the other person isn’t. Just try to let these situations go and move on. That person wasn’t right for you, even if you think she was. Fourth, other people have an outside perspective on you that you can only wish you had. Take advantage of that by asking them how you can improve.Tweet