People are always changing
I have found in recent times that I’ve caught myself thinking of particular people now, as they were many years ago. Without giving the person much chance of being any more or anything different to what they were in the past. It seems rather unfair doesn’t it? I mean, would it be fair to say that you are a very different version of yourself now compared to this time last year? Do you still look at anyone to this day as the person they were 10 years ago?
I certainly know that I myself am not remotely the person I was 10 years ago. I’m actually only a fraction of what I was 2 years ago when I strip back the way I now think, act and address daily events. In a personal development sense, I’ve shed a significant amount of my past self. And in a personal development sense, I’m in a couple existential holes right now. But aren’t we all? Trying to find that lesson that’s to be learnt from my tribulations of both the present and past. But the past and present appear to us in this dirty cloud that drifts lower than all other clouds. It teases us being all so close to tangible, yet all so far away to control.
*Metaphorics aside, it is rather hard deriving lessons simultaneously from the past and present. But try we must.
What truly brought me to noticing the way I’ve been seeing other people in ways I saw them years ago is that I thought of how people might see me in a similar light. It had me thinking, how long would it take for a person to see me the way I am now rather than who I was 10 years ago when they first met me? Would their first impressions of me eventually dwindle away and make path for my now self?
Growing through our environments
As children we learn at a rapid pace. Making mistakes hundreds of times a day. Sometimes making the same mistake over and over again until we finally realize that eating ants doesn’t taste nearly as nice as eating yogurt. We learn all the primary functions of what it is to move, communicate and survive as a human being. One survival tactic is learning of the faces we can grow to trust with our lives eg, parents and relatives.
We develop into teenagers before long and start to really ramp up on the development skills with the introduction of sexual attraction, ego and self belonging. We quickly try to find our place in the world (world being our high school, sports team or after school hang outs). We gravitate to the social group where we feel most alike, at home or most convenient at the present time.
Some of us find our belonging in rather safe, healthy and growth minded supporting environments. Some of us find our belonging in ultra competitive environments where we are constantly trying to outwit, outmuscle or undermine an already formed hierarchy. Then there are those of us who find our belonging in an environment where we get peer pressured into doing things we don’t want to do deep down.
All of these environments are forever ongoing through the form of ancestral hierarchies. Passed down each year creating new leaders to guide or manipulate the new batch of growing souls that join the social circle.
From then to now
I bet as you’ve read these previous paragraphs you have already pictured which category resembled your teenage years the most accurately. Mine personally was of a competitive environment of sorts. Where trying to outwit each other was a challenge, but (mostly) welcomed, and constantly playing sports together competing and trying to be the best person amongst the group. I was a middle tier comedian and sports person at best, constantly floating around the not too funny, but funny enough to get a chuckle once or twice a week tier. And not exactly gifted in sports, but disciplined enough to know if I didn’t give up, I’d get the possessions.
Over these teenage years I was always trying to be funnier than the next person. I’d try to create jokes by poking fun at others in ways that at times, looking back, were bullying. But I never knew it at the time. Or other times I’d jump on the back of other jokes and try running them a little longer until the mileage was done. I know in these years I most definitely pissed some people off. Especially teachers at a bet. But more importantly, I would have left some kind of trauma on certain peers. Now trauma comes in a myriad of forms and I won’t go into it in this blog.
Some of those people I have caught up with in my adult years and reviewed our years together. Most of those people I reconnected with agreed that that was what we did when we were ignorant teens just trying to find our way in the world that we lived in. And every person that I’ve caught up with in this manner has made my day!
But there have been some people I’ve spoken to that still to this day speak ill of others that they haven’t seen since high school. I know there are some that I haven’t seen since those days. But I know I don’t hold any grudges against them as they most certainly had their troubles and for all I know, are entirely different people at this present time!
Is there anyone in your past that you didn’t really see eye to eye with but would love to see again some day? Do you think you could let the past be the past and see them for who they are now, standing before you?
The invisible prison
So we come back to the present time and look around us in our daily lives. We all have a habit of penciling everybody into these invisible prisons of characteristics. We think we’ve experienced enough of a person to KNOW that they are a narcissist and will never care about anyone else. We KNOW that they are a push over and can’t be trusted with a task because they’ll give up at the first hurdle or questioning.
So ol’ Socrates (I choose this name because I know that I don’t know a soul called by this name…at this present time at least) will forever be a slutty swine because he kissed 3 girls at one party on one night in 2003. There’s no possible way he could have been a teenager with hormones raging inside of him with copious amounts of beautiful girls surrounding him that also happened to be attracted to him, could there be?
So yes, obviously this boy has become a man by now with so many more layers of character both internally and externally. So why would we want to hold him to that night still? To a few socially normal circumstances to that of a teenager at a party? When a lot of us have had our time in slightly lesser circumstances ourselves, maybe even worse situations than most. It is up to us to not necessarily give every person in your life a second chance like it’s a shopping spree. But perhaps at least hear a person (you’ve long held in their invisible prison) out.
See the way people hold themselves now.
Our actions of the present constantly pave the way for our future selves.
We are all being held in copious amounts of invisible prisons created by other peoples perceptions of us from 1997, 2005, 2018 to yesterday even! All we can do is keep being our authentic self. Don’t try to impress anybody, the odds are they will not change their perception of you. But you can give them a chance and let some baggage go that has been dragging you down all this time. You can at least make the shift and release others from the invisible prisons you have placed them in.
So try it the next time you see a person you may not even know that well but have put into a category, that invisible prison of some kind. See them for who they are today, for how they hold themselves around others, for who they are TRYING to be every single day just like the rest of us in this life.
We don’t know what we are doing, but we are trying. Just keep going without trying to hurt anybody along the way.
Why do you go away?
So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently too.
Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.Terry Pratchett
Look after yourself.
Self awareness is progression